Ferry travel to Montserrat failed for high seas

By Bennette Roach

The March seas struck again and stranded over 100 passengers in Antigua on Wednesday, March 7, just like it did last year also in March, when that time the ferry successfully docked and landed passengers at the Plymouth jetty in the exclusion zone. This followed cancellations the week before when hundreds had already begun to arrive for the Festival.

The Access Division had arranged for the passengers who had been stuck in Antigua since high seas caused cancellation of the ferry service on Sunday, 4th to travel down and dock at Port Plymouth.

But later it would be observed that there were some miscalculations. The Jaden Sun was on advice that it would be able to dock at the port Plymouth arrived just about mid-day before the sea changed its composure and the waters surged just as the ferry docked. The surge caused the ferry to pull against its rope and broke a mooring on deck, just when our attention was drawn to the water rising by an official who had been at the port waiting for the arrival of the ferry. He pointed out prior to that the water was relatively ‘flat’.

The Jaden Sun captain known for his deep concern for safety of passengers and his ship, decided that he would not risk the discomfort and possible danger for passengers to alight from the boat, immediately pulled away heading back towards Antigua.

A total of 114 passengers were reportedly aboard, but officials told us that the captain would check the waters in Little Bay to see if the situation was different. On arrival at Little Bay we observed how the water seemed flat and noted also that the Jaden Sun was slowly approaching, as was reported to have a look. It held up a distance from the jetty when a wave as seen in the photographs which caused a good ride up and down. Not abnormal in similar circumstances. But anyone listening to the reaction by persons ashore from videos gone viral, it would seem as the boat was in some danger, which it wasn’t. So too as later reported that passengers were shaken by the sudden ride that boat took on with the single big wave. The captain blew his horn and took off back to Antigua with some obviously frustrated passengers, some of whom had not been back to Montserrat as far back as the 70’s.

Hold up in Antigua getting to Montserrat

The island is expected an estimated 2000 people to arrive in the days, this set some of whom were in Antigua since the Sunday, March 4th on their way to enjoy the annual St Patrick’s Festival which officially began on Friday, March 9.

The Honourable Premier Donaldson Romeo explained on ZJB Radio that the decision to dock in Plymouth was not taken lightly and early morning indications had shown that it would be safe for the ferry to dock there. However, by the time the ferry arrived at noon, the surf had increased and made it unsafe to dock.

Premier Romeo said the government “has taken the responsibility to provide meals, transport and accommodations to the passengers, pending further plans.”

The Access Division announced late Wednesday that flight arrangements were being finalised for the elderly and children to be flown in on Thursday March 8, 2018.

The festivities are in high gear – grand finale begin tomorrow

This year marks the 250th anniversary of the failed slave rebellion on March 17th 1768 and authorities here are forecasting that over 7,000 people will flock the island for the commemoration.

The Tourism Division has informed that on St. Patrick’s Day itself, more than 1500 persons will travel via ferry from Guadeloupe, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica and Antigua.

The Jeans for Freedom Ferry is expected to arrive on Montserrat with 437 people from Guadeloupe on March 17th.

568 passengers are also expected in from Antigua and Barbuda on St. Patrick’s Day, 218 passengers on the Jayden Sun and 350 on the MV lovely 1.

The Sea Hustler will transport 150 passengers from St. Kitts and Nevis on March 16th with a return date of March 18th.

The Tourism Division says based on its promotions in Antigua, it is also anticipating several yachts, based in English Harbour, to journey over to Montserrat during the week.

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By Bennette Roach

The March seas struck again and stranded over 100 passengers in Antigua on Wednesday, March 7, just like it did last year also in March, when that time the ferry successfully docked and landed passengers at the Plymouth jetty in the exclusion zone. This followed cancellations the week before when hundreds had already begun to arrive for the Festival.

The Access Division had arranged for the passengers who had been stuck in Antigua since high seas caused cancellation of the ferry service on Sunday, 4th to travel down and dock at Port Plymouth.

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But later it would be observed that there were some miscalculations. The Jaden Sun was on advice that it would be able to dock at the port Plymouth arrived just about mid-day before the sea changed its composure and the waters surged just as the ferry docked. The surge caused the ferry to pull against its rope and broke a mooring on deck, just when our attention was drawn to the water rising by an official who had been at the port waiting for the arrival of the ferry. He pointed out prior to that the water was relatively ‘flat’.

The Jaden Sun captain known for his deep concern for safety of passengers and his ship, decided that he would not risk the discomfort and possible danger for passengers to alight from the boat, immediately pulled away heading back towards Antigua.

A total of 114 passengers were reportedly aboard, but officials told us that the captain would check the waters in Little Bay to see if the situation was different. On arrival at Little Bay we observed how the water seemed flat and noted also that the Jaden Sun was slowly approaching, as was reported to have a look. It held up a distance from the jetty when a wave as seen in the photographs which caused a good ride up and down. Not abnormal in similar circumstances. But anyone listening to the reaction by persons ashore from videos gone viral, it would seem as the boat was in some danger, which it wasn’t. So too as later reported that passengers were shaken by the sudden ride that boat took on with the single big wave. The captain blew his horn and took off back to Antigua with some obviously frustrated passengers, some of whom had not been back to Montserrat as far back as the 70’s.

Hold up in Antigua getting to Montserrat

The island is expected an estimated 2000 people to arrive in the days, this set some of whom were in Antigua since the Sunday, March 4th on their way to enjoy the annual St Patrick’s Festival which officially began on Friday, March 9.

The Honourable Premier Donaldson Romeo explained on ZJB Radio that the decision to dock in Plymouth was not taken lightly and early morning indications had shown that it would be safe for the ferry to dock there. However, by the time the ferry arrived at noon, the surf had increased and made it unsafe to dock.

Premier Romeo said the government “has taken the responsibility to provide meals, transport and accommodations to the passengers, pending further plans.”

The Access Division announced late Wednesday that flight arrangements were being finalised for the elderly and children to be flown in on Thursday March 8, 2018.

The festivities are in high gear – grand finale begin tomorrow

This year marks the 250th anniversary of the failed slave rebellion on March 17th 1768 and authorities here are forecasting that over 7,000 people will flock the island for the commemoration.

The Tourism Division has informed that on St. Patrick’s Day itself, more than 1500 persons will travel via ferry from Guadeloupe, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica and Antigua.

The Jeans for Freedom Ferry is expected to arrive on Montserrat with 437 people from Guadeloupe on March 17th.

568 passengers are also expected in from Antigua and Barbuda on St. Patrick’s Day, 218 passengers on the Jayden Sun and 350 on the MV lovely 1.

The Sea Hustler will transport 150 passengers from St. Kitts and Nevis on March 16th with a return date of March 18th.

The Tourism Division says based on its promotions in Antigua, it is also anticipating several yachts, based in English Harbour, to journey over to Montserrat during the week.