$12m tugs tied up because of Covid-19 training problems
A pair of new tug boats that cost more that $12 million are still to be used eight months after their arrival.
The vessels, Powerful and Faithful, were shipped in last September to replace their ageing namesakes, which were more than 30 years old.
But crews have been unable to complete their training in the US because of the coronavirus pandemic – which has left the two boats tied up at the quayside.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Transport said that some training had been completed on the island, but that pilots and engineers had to attend classes in the US before the boats can go into service.
The vessels cost the taxpayer $6.25 million each.
She said: “The required practical, hands-on training from overseas trainers for the new tug captains and engineers has been completed.
“However, the theoretical training is still not completed and has been impacted by Covid-19 travel restrictions.
“The required theoretical training is a combination of classroom and simulation modelling that unfortunately must be undertaken at an approved training facility.”
A total of four tug boat captains will be trained at the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies in Baltimore, Maryland.
A further ten engineering and electronic maintenance crew members will go back to the classroom at the builder’s training centre in Miami.
But the spokeswoman admitted a timetable for completion had not been established.
She said: “Once the training has been completed the tugs will be put into full service.”