Falklands : Public Meeting Report (24/03/08)
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 26.03.2008 (Article Archived on 09.04.2008)
A public meeting was held in the Court and Council of the Town Hall at 1700hrs on Monday, 24 March 2008.
PUBLIC MEETING REPORT (24/03/08)
By J. Brock (FINN)
A public meeting was held in the Court and Council of the Town Hall on Monday, 24 March 2008. Present were Cllrs Summers (Chair), Clausen, Birmingham, Robertson, Stevens, Rendell and Hansen.
During the meeting Mr. Adam Cockwell gave a presentation on the new ferry service and showed slides of the M/V Concordia Bay that would be used for the service. Most of the meeting was taken up with a question and answer session.
One aspect of the service would be alerts alerts/announcements on the radio and via e-mail if the schedule changed.
Loading time is estimated to be approximately ½ hour. You must be ticketed. People must pre-book. If you simply turn up on the day you won’t sail on that voyage. This is due to having to report passengers and crew prior to sailing.
Consolidation services would be in the private sector as the government do not want to provide extra services when they can be operated in the private sector. It’s also cost effective to let the private sector participate in the ferry service as much as possible. Cllr Summers confirmed that Consolidation Services would be discussed in meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Consolidation services would be needed to get wool from Newhaven to Stanley. Trailers with goods can be left at Newhaven provided the paperwork is done.
Prices already published are return prices but it is possible for one way rates.
Fuel deliveries would be the same as they presently are on the Tamar.
Dangerous goods can be carried but the number of passengers needs to be restricted when they are being carried. There are special areas and facilities on the vessel for stowing of dangerous goods. The number of passengers being carried depends on the nature of the dangerous goods being transported. Dangerous goods are items like AV gas (JP-5) Gas Cylinders, Bulk Diesel and gasoline.
Frozen goods will be stowed the same way as they are on the Tamar. There are no freezers aboard Concordia Bay but the norm is to put domestic freezers in containers for transport. Refrigerated Containers and Freezers would be in the realm of private businesses to organise.
Cllr Summers said that there is a trade off between doing things quickly and in a cost-effective way. Adam Cockwell pointed out that even if products are dropped off at their destination it may not be the most cost effective way of delivery.
People are waiting for a full report on how much this is going to cost them and/or their businesses and they want to have an idea about the services they are going to support and if they want to bid for one or more of the Consolidation services. Already a few people have shown an interest in one service on the West.
The Concordia Bay would be able to run for 6 weeks without fuelling up but Adam Cockwell admitted that if they ran short the most cost effective way of fuelling up would be to go to Stanley to get it. Mr Cockwell mentioned that more than one cross sound trip could be made in a day and that the fuel expenditure was minimal for that extra trip.
In time the Military, if they have found an efficient service, will begin to take up bookings for the ferry. It would take being able to connect them with facilities that would help to re-supply the mountaintops, etc. It is possible that their business would pick up in the future.
Routine maintenance and dry-docking would take minimal time with dry dock to take place in Punta Arenas or in Montevideo. They ship would be surveyed once a year for passenger service with dry dock every two years.
Lifesaving equipment is available on the ship for 7 crew and 30 passengers.
Councillors wouldn’t be drawn on the annual subsidy but invited those interested to view the estimates instead.
Facilities at Newhaven are basic and it is possible for passengers to wait at Goose Green for the vessel to arrive. (Another business opportunity) At the moment there are no plans to feed people who are crossing the sound – no snacks onboard. Councillors agree that it is sensible to get the vessel here to see how things go before further investing in terminal facilities.
Water would be a problem at Fox Bay but there is sufficient at Port Howard.
It would be up to Workboat Services to ensure the quality of Captain and Crew.
Adam Cockwell, in closing the meeting, asked people who wanted more information to stop by the office. Tariffs will be published in due course.