NCL ferry returns after hitting reef
A ferry brought to Bermuda to transport cruise ship passengers has been out of action for more than month after it hit a reef, The Royal Gazette can reveal.
But the owners of the Spirit of St George’s said the ferry was scheduled to be back in operation today.
The catamaran, used by Norwegian Cruise Lines to ferry its passengers between Dockyard and the East End, has been out of commission since July 18, when it struck a reef as it left St George’s Harbour through Town Cut.
Beau Evans, owner of the boat’s operator Cruiseport Ferry Management Ltd, said repairs had now been completed.
Mr Evans added: “What happened was we hit a reef in Town Cut back on July 18 and suffered some damage.
“The boat has a considerably long bulbous bow on each of its two hulls, and we hit the port side one.
“All the repairs are now done and we will be starting up again with passengers on Monday.”
A spokeswoman for NCL confirmed the boat had struck an “underwater obstruction” while leaving St George’s on July 18.
The spokeswoman added: “The ferry immediately returned to St George’s for assessment. Several guests were treated for minor injuries.”
Mr Evans said the injured passengers were all treated quickly and all the passengers were returned to Dockyard on a government ferry while the Spirit of St George’s remained in the East End.
Mr Evans said: “We have been extremely busy, bringing about 1,000 people to and from St George’s every day. It has been a very successful service, and then we had this incident.
“In the meantime, we approached Government and they allowed us to use their ferry to fulfil our service to NCL that we promised.”
Mr Evans said he could not confirm how much it had cost to fix the damage to the boat.
A government spokeswoman said the Department of Marine and Ports Services had launched an investigation into the crash.
The spokeswoman added: “In the interim, the government ferry service provides lift on a day-to-day basis while the Spirit of St George’s is out of service.
“Government’s core service was not impacted.”
NCL brought the Spirit of St George’s to Bermuda in 2017 at its own expense to ferry passengers on round trips to St George’s as part of a 2016 agreement between the cruise line and the Government.
As part of the agreement, the cruise line committed to provide the tender service until 2022.
Cruiseport Ferry Management Ltd was subsequently awarded a contract to operate the service by NCL after an open RFP.
Michael Fahy, then the Minister of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities, said the service would double ferry lift to St George’s during the cruise ship season.
The Spirit of St George’s, a 400-seat, 133ft high-speed charter vessel, boasts a 5,200 horsepower motor and a top speed of 25 knots.
The vessel has run passengers between Dockyard and St George’s since 2017 while NCL cruise ships are in port.
The Corporation of St George has said the service had helped to increase visitor numbers in the town.
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