Archive | Travel

JDF Coast Guard

Search suspended for missing NY family and pilot after plane goes missing near The Bahamas

NASSAU, Bahamas, May 19, CMC – The search for four people who went missing after the plane in which they were traveling disappeared off the coast of the island Eleuthera, has been suspended.

The search, conducted by the United States Coast Guard, Customs and Border Patrol and the Royal Bahamas Defense Force was suspended late Thursday.

Missing are Jennifer Blumin, 40, from New York City,Nathan Ulrich, 52, from Lee, New Hampshire, and Blumin’s 3-year-old and 4-year-old sons.

JDF Coast Guard“This was a swift and significant loss and its impact has reverberated through everyone that participated in the search,”said Christopher Eddy, search and rescue mission coordinator. “Our hearts and prayers go out to all of the families involved.”

The search was conducted for  75 hours covering more than11,140 square miles.

The New York family and Ulrich went missing when shortly after 2:10 pm (local time) Miami Air Traffic Control lost radar and radio contact from of a MU-2B airplane approximately 37 miles east of Eleuthera.

Communication was reported to be lost at 24,000 feet with a speed of 300 knots.

The airplane departed Borinquen, Puerto Rico, at approximately11 a.m.Monday en route to Titusville, Florida.

On Tuesday afternoon,  a Coast Guard helicopter crew located a fuel sheen and a debris field 15 miles east of Eleuthera.

The helicopter crew was able to lower a rescue swimmer and retrieve some of the debris to transfer ashore for identification.

Some airplane components recovered from the debris were confirmed to be from an MU-2B airplane.

A National Transportation Safety Board accident investigator has been assigned to this case to determine the probable cause of this accident.

Meanwhile, the coast guard suspended another search on Thursday. This was for a a woman  – Isabella Hellman, 41, of Delray Beach in Florida, who went missing 30miles west of Cay Sal.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of Ms. Hellman in this difficult time,” said Capt. Aldante Vinciguerra, chief of response for the Coast Guard Seventh District. “Suspending a search is never an easy call to make and was made with deep consideration in this tragic case.”

On Monday the coast guard was notified that the owner of a 37 foot catamaran “Surf into Summer”  Lewis Bennett said he was abandoning his vessel and didn’t know where his wife, Hellman, was.

Response crews arrived on scene and rescued Bennett from a life raft , there was also no sign of his wife

Posted in International, News, Regional, Travel0 Comments

St. Helena first passenger flight landing

HISTORIC ARRIVAL OF CHARTER FLIGHT

History was made on St Helena today, Wednesday, May 3, 2017, when a charter plane carrying 60 passengers landed at St Helena Airport at 1.55 p.m.

St. Helena first passenger flight landing

Air Partner, a commercial organisation that sources charter flights around the world, had been contracted to source an aircraft to transport from Cape Town to St Helena passengers affected by the cancellation of RMS voyages 255 and 256. Air Partner then entered into an agreement with SA Airlink to carry out the charter flight.

 SA Airlink successfully carried out the flight operation today using a British Aerospace 146 Avro RJ85 aircraft.  Among the 60 passengers onboard today’s incoming flight were HE Governor Lisa Phillips and a young St Helenian baby born in Cape Town.

Crowds of family members, friends and Island residents gathered at the Airport to witness the arrival. Emotions were high and many people expressed that they were excited but emotional about today’s flight.

The aircraft approached St Helena Airport from the north before smoothly touching down on Runway 20. Passengers disembarking the aircraft were met by a packed Arrivals Hall, all eager to welcome everyone to St Helena.

Following a quick turnaround, the aircraft departed at 3.20pm with 48 passengers onboard. The aircraft is travelling to Cape Town via Windhoek in South Africa.

Councillor Derek Thomas said today:

“What a great day for St Helena to receive our first flight of passengers, and a really good turnout from the people.

“Over the past year there have been many disappointments for air access but despite this our people have been patient while waiting for a successful outcome. The arrival of the aircraft today is one step nearer to commercial use of our Airport and has enabled those people who were delayed in Cape Town to return home safely.

“Thank you to Air Partner, SA Airlink, Janet and the Air Access Office team, Airport staff led by Gwyneth, Kedell our SHG UK Representative and Niall from ESH and [Dr Akeem Ali] our new Health Director who provided tremendous support to our Saints stuck in Cape Town. To all staff in SHG for all their hard work for organising the flight which was a real success and a really successful day.”

Accountable Manager and Head of Operations at St Helena Airport, Gwyneth Howell, added:

“The team at St Helena Airport did exceptionally well today and we should be really proud of them, everything went as well as we had hoped. There will be lessons learnt and we will always strive to improve but to everyone, from SHG to SA Airlink to Air Partner and the Airport team, I think we all did exceptionally well.”

For more photos from today please visit the SHG Facebook and Twitter accounts via the below links:

#StHelena #StHelenaAirport #Making History

https://www.facebook.com/StHelenaGovt/

https://twitter.com/StHelenaGovt

SHG

3 May 2017

Posted in International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

kick em jenny

Increased activities at Kick ’em Jenny volcano

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, May 1, CMC – Disaster officials in Grenada said that the region’s only submarine volcano, Kick ‘em Jenny, showed “continuous activity” on Monday with at least “43 mostly low magnitudes volcanic earthquakes” over an 18 hour period.

A statement from the National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA) noted that the agency is continuing to collaborate with the Seismic Research Centre (SRC), at the St. Augustine campus University of the West Indies (UWI) in Trinidad and Tobago to monitor activities at the Kick ’em Jenny under water volcano.

NaDMA said it was “advised of continuous activities” on Monday and according to the fourth advisory from the SRC/UWI “during the period 5:45 p.m. on 30th April to10:41 a.m. on 1st May, the activity rate has remained virtually the same with 43 mostly low magnitudes -in the range 1.5-2.3 – volcanic earthquakes associated with this unrest episode at the Kick-’em-Jenny volcano.

“There were a few larger events with the largest at magnitude 3.0. UWI/SRC will continue to monitor and update NaDMA as the activity warrants.”

kick em jenny
Kick ’em jenny

On Sunday, the UWI/SRC recorded a high amplitude signal, lasting about 25 seconds, on one of the Grenada stations.  The signal was also recorded on a station in Montserrat.

“This signal follows an increase in the number of background events associated with the Kick-‘em-Jenny volcano,” NaDMA said, confirming reports that persons in the St. Patrick’s area have reported feeling tremors.”

Kick ’em Jenny is an active submarine volcano or seamount on the Caribbean Sea floor, located 8 km (5 mi) north of the island of Grenada and about 8 km (5 mi) west of Ronde Island in the Grenadines.

The volcano has erupted on at least 12 occasions between 1939 and 2001. A submersible survey in 2003 detected a crater with active fumaroles releasing cold and hot gas bubble. Signs of elevated seismicity began July 11, 2015, and on July 23 a strong continuous signal was recorded.

NaDMA said that the alert level remains “YELLOW” and that means that “vessels should observe a 1.5 km/0.93 mile exclusion zone.

“However, as a precautionary measure, the marine community is advised to continue observing the secondary exclusion zone of 5 km/3.1 miles. The SRC has advised that heightened alert is
necessary for the exclusion zone.”

NaDMA is also advising the general population that the official advisories on this matter, and all other disaster related matters will come directly from the agency and urged also “the responsible use of social
media.

“The population can rest assured that SRC continues to monitor the system and NaDMA will continue to liaise with SRC and provide updates,” NaDMA added.

Posted in General, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

MV-Super-Fast-Galicia2

Search underway for new inter-island cargo ferry

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Apr. 8, CMC – Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan says he should have some definitive word concerning the replacement vessel for the Galicia – a ferry that is used to transport cargo between Trinidad and Tobago.

MV-Super-Fast-Galicia2This follows a recent announcement from Inter-Continental Shipping Ltd, the owners of the ferry, that the vessel would end operations on the domestic sea brief on April 18.

According to the Trinidad Newsday, the Galicia will continue its sailings to and from Tobago over the Easter weekend, but Sinanan stressed that the short term period of two months between the time the Galicia ceases operations and closure of a tender to acquire a replacement vessel, is the period which must be immediately addressed .

He said no company is being “blacklisted” from participating in the tender and he hopes Inter-Continental would participate.

Pointing to concerns raised by the Tobago Chamber of Commerce about options to replace the Galicia, the Transport Minister said this was not a simple matter ,

He is quoted as saying that acquiring a vessel to operate on the sea bridge is different from acquiring a new motor vehicle from a automobile dealership because the requirements are far different.

Reiterating this was a situation, which should never have happened in the first place, Sinanan explained that “a combination” of vessels may have to be used in the short term, until a proper replacement is acquired .

Super Fast Galicia has been operating in the twin island republic since May 2014.

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

LIATPlane

LIAT meeting ends with agreement on payment of salaries

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – (Adapted) – Only three days after the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) on April 2, 2017 issued a press release in which it called for the removal of the current LIAT management, shareholder governments of the cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT, Tuesday night ended talks with regional unions representing employees with an agreement to ensure that salaries are to be paid on time and averting possible industrial action.

The Association claimed it, “unfortunately has no other choice but to call on the Shareholder Governments to remove the current LIAT management.”

The meeting discussed a move by the Antigua-based carrier to implement a late payment schedule to its employees that is likely to continue for the next five months.

But St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who is chairman of the shareholder governments, told reporters that a settlement had been reached after the unions had threatened industrial action if the airline had proceeded with the deferrals.

“I think that instructions have gone to the bank for the payments, so depends on which bank you are in, some persons would get paid tomorrow or the next day,” he told reporters, noting however that there was no guarantee that the airline would not be late with salaries again soon.

Gonsalves Bdos
Dr. Ralph Gonsalves leaving the Hilton Barbados following the meeting

“The management is not saying that they would be in a position on each occasion over the next three months to pay precisely on time; there may be a couple of days deferral,” Gonsalves said.

Earlier this month, the airline’s chief executive officer, Julie Reifer-Jones, saying that “LIAT’s management sincerely apologises for any disruption to the travel plans of our valued passengers at this time.

“We remain committed to working with our employees to resolve the issues currently impacting the delivery of our service to the Caribbean”.

Last month, the airline sent a letter to the chair of the Standing Regional Consultative Council of Trade Unions within the LIAT System (SRCCTULS), David Massiah, indicating that the airline’s major shareholders were willing to meet with a delegation from the unions “to have a structured discussion on the current financial position of LIAT, the industrial climate and the future of the airline”.

In a March 30 email to the airline’s staff, Reifer-Jones said that LIAT “is going through a difficult financial situation and has implemented a schedule of delays for salaries for all employees over the next five months.”

She said the financial delays are affecting all airline employees, including the executive team.

Reifer-Jones said the airline was proposing a five-month period as it expects that the situation should improve by the summer months.

Gonsalves said the issue of salaries was an important one, but there were “several practical questions” that needed to be addressed, “which are of concern to the staff and the travelling public by extension, that we hope immediately to be addressed over the medium term”.

He also revealed that plans had been drafted for the establishment of a technical committee to formulate a medium term development plan for the struggling airline.

‘What we decided on the way forward is that I would liaise with the president of the Caribbean Development Bank [CDB], who would name someone to draw up terms of reference for a technical committee to study a series of issue affecting operations of LIAT.

“This would be fed into a task force appointed by the shareholders and that task force would hold consultations with all of the relevant stakeholders,” Gonsalves said.

“Hopefully we can put together these committees in the week after Easter Monday and there is an outside time of three months for all of this technical and consultative work to be done and the report to be presented to the shareholders,” he told reporters.

Gonsalves said that the LIAT management would not be resting on their laurels while the consultative work was being completed, as they have a number of issues pertaining to flight operations and the company’s day-to-day operations to address.

Last weekend, LIALPA had called on the shareholder governments to dismiss the airline’s management. But Gonsalves did not address this matter in any detail, limiting his comments to an acknowledgement that those concerns were raised “in robust language”.

The pilots complained:

♦ The aircraft fleet has decreased from 18 to 10. Lack of adequate crew.

♦ The Head of Flight Operations’ incompetence was exposed as he stood idly and did nothing to address the mass departure of 19 experienced Pilots, after the Airline just spent over 100 thousand dollars to train each pilot. Now the attention is on hiring new inexperienced pilots.

♦ Loss of 10 million dollars in hangar fire due to records not being properly backed up off site

♦ Loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars for removing a flight route from Grenada schedule

♦ Loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in routes being taken over by competitors

“The employees raised a number of issues relating to decisions, which if the employees are correct about those matters, they would require immediate corrective action,” he told reporters.

LIAT is owned by the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Local, News, Regional, Travel0 Comments

US Coast Guard

US Coast Guard repatriates 27 Cuban migrants

MIAMI, Mar. 19, CMC – The United States Coast Guard says the Cutter Charles Sexton repatriated 27 Cuban migrants Friday to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba.

US Coast GuardThe Coast Guard said the repatriation was the result of a migrant interdiction near Key Largo last Sunday.

The Coast Guard said it “helped secure the US border and prevent this sea voyage from ending in tragedy.”

“We discourage anyone from taking to the sea and attempting to reach US soil illegally – they are risking their lives with very little chance of success,” said Captain Aldante Vinciguerra, chief of response for the Coast Guard 7th District.

It is estimated that 1,951 Cubans have attempted to illegally migrate to the US via the maritime environment since January 1, compared to 7,411 Cubans in fiscal year 2016.

The Coast Guard says these numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.

Posted in International, Local, News, Police, Politics, Regional, Travel0 Comments

Humming

Hummingbird Air to suspend services next month

ROSEAU, Dominica, Mar. 16, CMC – The management of the St. Croix based Hummingbird Air is currently in negotiations with a new management group as the carrier prepares to suspend its services as of April 1.

Managing Director of Hummingbird Air, Sam Raphael told Dominica News Online that the “major contributing factor” for the suspension of service is that airport fees in the US Virgin Islands were “raised dramatically” last month.

HummingHe said another contributing factor, is the inability to allocate sufficient time towards the day to day running of the airline since he is presently occupied with the reconstruction of a local resort.

“So we had to have the service interruption. It is unfortunate that we had to make the change for both the staff and our customers, but at this point, I think it is the right move to make and from an economic standpoint, it was necessary,” Raphael said.

Concerning the possibility of restarting services, he said “the assets are there” and the company is still valuable, but managing director said could not say what the future holds.

Posted in Local, News, Regional, Travel0 Comments

CTO-CHTA

Regional tourism bodies welcome Caribbean leaders acknowledgement

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Feb 21, CMC – Regional tourism officials Tuesday applauded Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders for taking the lead in recognising the critical contribution of the sector to regional economies and a commitment to advancing a regional tourism agenda.

The Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) the region’s tourism development agency, and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), the umbrella private sector organization, said they firmly believe “that tourism is a key driver of socio-economic progress, helping destinations and countries to quickly create jobs and businesses, generate tax revenues and support infrastructure improvements to the benefit of residents and visitor.

“It is a proven tool to lower unemployment, stimulate indigenous entrepreneurial activity, increase foreign exchange earnings, and grow tax revenues for our treasuries.

CTO-CHTA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“However, it is a fiercely competitive business, and we are facing the stark reality that we must find ways of maximizing the collective strength of the Caribbean, if any and all of us are to truly succeed,” the two organisations noted.

CTO Secretary General Hugh Riley last week made a presentation to the regional leaders last week that was also prepared in collaboration with the CHTA,.

The communique issued following the summit noted that that the leaders welcomed proposals from the two organisations for advancing a  regional tourism agenda, particularly through public/private Sector Partnerships.

“Heads of Government acknowledged the importance of transportation and facilitation of travel, human resource development, the creative industries and marketing as well as competitiveness and financing for the sustainability of Tourism.

“Heads of Government agreed that public-private sector partnerships, guiding the development and marketing of tourism for the Caribbean, needed to be more effective and requested that the marketing of tourism encompass, in particular, the eco-tourism product of mainland Member States – Belize, Guyana and Suriname.”

Regarding travel, the regional leaders called for an urgent meeting of the Council for Trade and Development (COTED)-Transportation to address air transport issues in particular, including those related to the tourism sector.

The leaders said they also supported the establishment of an Interim Tourism Working Group comprising representation from the CARICOM Secretariat, CTO and the CHTA with the mandate to coordinate with regional public and private sector stakeholder groups, the development of specific solutions to be presented to the next summit in Grenada.

The CTO and CHTA said the support of the leaders “is a progressive and positive move and a welcomed commitment towards furthering the development of our people, so that they can take full advantage of the employment, career and entrepreneurial opportunities available through the region’s largest industry.

“We wish to thank the leaders for placing tourism on their agenda. We are particularly appreciative to Prime Minister Perry Christie of the Bahamas, who has responsibility for tourism in the CARICOM quasi-Cabinet, Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe and Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell for advancing the proposed initiative at the meeting,” the regional tourism bodies said.

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM, Travel1 Comment

The firefall at Yosemite National Park in California is a waterfall in disguise

Every February a rare phenomenon makes Horsetail Fall glow like fire.

By Laura Geggel, Senior Writer | February 15, 2017 

 Partner Series

 

The firefall at Yosemite National Park in California is a waterfall in disguise.
Credit: Peggy Sells/Shutterstock

It may look like a ribbon of cascading lava, but a so-called “firefall” in Yosemite National Park is actually a regular waterfall illuminated by the bright light of the setting sun.

Almost every mid-to late-February, Yosemite’s Horsetail Fall — a seasonal waterfall that flows when the snowpack melts in the winter and early spring — glows a bright and fiery orange. [Gallery: Most Famous Waterfalls in the US]

However, the firefall happens only under the right conditions. For starters, the sky needs to be clear. In addition, the sun needs to set at the right angle in the western sky; this creates the illusion that the waterfall is burning, Live Science reported previously.

“Even some haze or minor cloudiness can greatly diminish or eliminate the effect,” the National Park Service wrote on its website.

The sight, which now attracts thousands of people annually, is one to behold. But it’s short-lived, happening for only about 10 minutes each day, Live Science reported.

Yosemite visitors hoping to catch an eyeful of the firefall are in for a treat this year, officials said.

“The waterfall is bigger than it has been in a long time due to all the rain and snow we have received,” National Park Service spokesman Scott Gediman told CNN.

Many people have taken to social media to share photos of the astounding firefall. The U.S. Department of the Interior tweeted, “Every February, a rare phenomenon makes Horsetail Fall @Yosemitenps glow like fire. Pic from Saturday by Ray Lee #California #firefall.”

Horsetail Fall flows over the eastern edge of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. The firefall is best seen from the El Capitan picnic area, located west of Yosemite Valley Lodge and east of El Capitan, National Park Service officials reported.

Original article on Live Science.

Posted in Features, International, Local, News, Travel0 Comments

Argyle Airport SVD

St. Vincent and the Grenadines opens new multi-million dollar international airport

By Kenton X. Chance

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Feb 14, CMC – St. Vincent and the Grenadines Argyle International Airport was officially opened Monday evening with a flag raising ceremony in which Prime Minister Dr.  Ralph Gonsalves said that the facility is “a symbol, it is a metaphor of what is possible in us.

“Do not ever allow any people, any nation to impose on us limitations to our imagination,” he told the large crowd that turned out to the opening of the EC$700 million (One EC dollar =US$0.37 cents) facility, six years behind schedule.

“Only we, as a self-governing people under God, with our own individual sense of being; only we must impose limitations on ourselves. Any other notion is a colonial one, and it is debilitating and it will hold us back,” said Gonsalves, who in 2005 announced his administration’s plan to build an international airport at Argyle, on the eastern side of the island.

Gonsalves at agyle
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves

“Whatever we set our minds to achieve, with patience and calm, we can achieve, as we have seen it here. This is a bridge to the world. And this plan didn’t just come from us. It is a combination of human intelligence and divine inspiration,” Gonsalves said and sang the chorus “I’m building a Bridge”.

Monday’s flag raising was one of two events to mark the opening of the airport, which begins operations later on Tuesday with scheduled flights by intra-regional carriers, LIAT and Grenadine Air Alliance.

A number of international chartered flights from North America and Cuba are also scheduled to land on Tuesday at the airport, which has contributed EC$400 million to the EC$1.6 billion national debt.

The airport has a runway that is 9,000 feet long and 150 feet wide. The terminal building has been designed to process 1.5 million passengers annually and 800 persons an hour at peak.

Gonsalves, who will also address Tuesday’s ceremony, said “today was supposed to be a very simple function and look at the thousands who are here.

“ (Tuesday) I believe we are going to see the largest crowd ever assembled at one place in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. And we are going to have a good time. We are going to have a good time because we have been blessed,” he said.

In his address, Gonsalves reiterated that the events on Monday and Tuesday are national ones.

“This is a not a party, political event; neither the one tomorrow (Tuesday). There is enough time, which we have spent on those arguments and we may well spend them on the arguments in the future, but today, now, and tomorrow (Tuesday), with our guests in our midst, I want to ensure that we have a national event, worthy of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Gonsalves said.

“It is inevitable, in the nature of competitive politics, that this or that matter may be said; that something may creep in. But, as prime minister of the country, I want to reaffirm, yet again, that this is a national event,” Gonsalves said, using the event to thank the nations and institutions that contributed to the successful completion of the airport.

He thanked the CARICOM Development Fund, which, of its own resources and through resources from Turkey, contributed to the airport and thanked also the president and the government and the people of Taiwan, which donated the terminal building.

Friday at agyle
Opposition Leader Goodwin Friday at Monday’s ceremonial opening

He also recognised “very specially”, three other major partners, namely Venezuela, Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago, which will be featured during Tuesday’s celebratory rally.

President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro is slated to attend and speak at the event as well as Cuban Vice-President, Salvador Mesa.

Gonsalves paid a special tribute to the memory of his “dear friend and brother”, the late prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Patrick Manning, whose widow, Hazel will speak during Tuesday’s rally.

Gonsalves also used the ceremony to recognise other representatives of countries that have assisted with the airport, namely, Austria, Mexico, Turkey, Libya, Georgia, and Iran.

“We have had contributions from countries; some of them do not have diplomatic relations with one another. And part of the creativity and skill of the government was to bring all of these countries together to assist the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

Gonsalves also thanked the governments of Britain, Canada, and the United States of America, whose respective export credit guarantee systems assisted “with certain items of equipment which we purchased, but, because of the guarantee systems we got them on better interest terms”.

Opposition Leader, Godwin Friday, speaking to the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) said the event had the pomp and ceremony that he expected.

“And I hope that the airport turns out to be what we expect as well.”

Friday did not give a clear answer as to whether opposition lawmakers would attend Tuesday’s event, saying “we will see. We will take it one day at a time.”

He said that decision would be informed by “what the nature of the exercise is.

“I think right now what we want to do is to show that commitment to people that this is a national project and whatever the criticisms are, we, in the opposition, we have to raise questions about things that we see in major projects or in government policy that raise concern.

“And if we do that, that doesn’t mean that we are rejecting entirely or we are unpatriotic, as some people might say. We are doing our job. When the project is completed, we hope that, based on the input we have given, that it becomes a better project.”

Friday said opposition lawmakers were at the event to show that they want the project to succeed.

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

Newsletter

Archives