It has been over a 100 years since indentured labourers set sail from Kolkata for countries like Guyana and Suriname. Now, Kolkata-based shipyard Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) has bagged the contract to build a sea-going ferry for Guyana that may also sail to Suriname with passengers and vehicles.
The Guyana-Suriname ferry is quite well known among people who travel to the Carribean. This is the first time that an Indian shipyard has bagged such a contract.
“GRSE is the only shipyard in the country to have built 106 ships for the Indian Navy and Coast Guard. It is also the only shipyard to have delivered a warship to Mauritius. Now, a lot of stress is being paid on exports and the order for the ferry in Guyana was bagged after the shipyard participated in a global tender.
The 1,700-tonne-vessel will be used by Guyana in its coastal and riverine areas. It will be equipped with two Caterpillar marine diesel engines coupled with twin-disc reduction gearboxes to achieve speeds of 15 knots,” an official said.
GRSE had been in talks with the government in Guyana after being shortlisted. On Wednesday, the Harbour Department, Ministry of Public Works, Government of Guyana, signed the contract with GRSE to build the ocean-going vessel at a cost of US $12.7 million. It can carry both passengers and cargo, including vehicles.
The Moleson Creek crossing between Guyana and Suriname is extremely popular. According to a source, the ferry used for the crossing is fairly old and a replacement was on the cards for quite some time now.