Friday, December 15, 2017

‘Cabinet okayed Galicia $$ before Port Authority approval’

the Super-Fast Galicia

THE Cabinet of 2014 approved the payment for the contracting of the Super-Fast Galicia on April 3, 2014, nine days before the Port Authority board had ratified the matter.

This according to documents received by the Sunday Express.

The documents also showed Nyree Alfonso was paid $840,750 for her legal services ­relating to the termination of the Warrior Spirit vessel and the retention of the Super-Fast Galicia.

The invoice was submitted on July 18, 2014, to Charmaine Lewis, general manager of the Port Authority, and it was approved for payment at a meeting on September 19, 2014.

According to the invoice, Alfonso billed a total of 260 hours at a cost of $2,250 per hour.

According to the invoice, Alfonso's expertise was sought to give advice on several matters, including issues relating to the termination of the arrangement with the Warrior Spirit, the location a temporary replacement cargo vessel, arbitration (relating to the Warrior Spirit) and arrangements for the Galicia.


Intercontinental not invited


Interestingly, when the tender process opened on February 19, 2014, nine companies were invited to bid for the contract, none of which was Intercontinental Shipping Company Ltd.

The nine companies were Mari­time Workers Offshore Contractors, ND Alfonso and Company Ltd, Windward Ferries Ltd, Auckland Shipbrokers (New Zealand), East Coast Mari­time Brokers (USA), Atlantic Marine Equipment (USA), Allship Hamburg (Germany), Algoship Bro­kers (Bahamas) and Ferrando & Massone Srl (Italy).

However, at the close of the tender bid, submissions were received from Intercontinental, Windward Ferries Ltd and Ferrando & Massone.

It is not specifically stated how Intercontinental entered the tendering process.

But according to Alfonso's invoice, her bill included the location of temporary replacement cargo vessels on the Port of Spain-to-Scarborough route.

The invoice stated she located five potential replacement vessels, one of which was the Galicia, which was “deemed most suitable by Leon Grant”.

On March 6, 2014, the board approved the recommendation from its evaluation team for a six-month contract for the Super-Fast Galicia pending the sea trial and vessel inspection by a team from ND Alfonso and Company, which was the firm to broker on behalf of the ICSL.

By March 28, 2014, a draft Cabinet note was prepared to the funding of this charter hire ­arrangement.


Cabinet note


On April 14, 2014, Cabinet note Minute NO 972 of 2014 indicated the Cabinet approved the sum of $56.3 million for safe berthing, mobilisation fees and infrastructure works for the operation of the vessel at the Port of Spain and the Port of Scarborough and the leasing and operation of the vessel.

This was two days after the board ratified the decision to engage the Galicia on April 12, 2014.

By April 14, a cheque for $23.9 million was issued.

On May 1, 2014, another cheque in the same amount was issued to the Port Authority in respect of the preparation works and leasing of the vessel.

On March 17, then-chief executive of the Port Authority Leon Grant had travelled with the chief engineer, Brendon Powder, to Gibraltar to conduct an inspection and sea trial of the ­Galicia.

In his report, dated March 24, 2014, Grant reported the Galicia exceeded the requirement in terms of the capacity and its functionality/asthetics, but was inadequate in terms of its passenger capacity, vessel utilisation, was incompatible with the port's infrastructure and had issues with the operational costs.

The report noted ­operational costs were likely to “triple in the next six months”.