ST. EUSTATIUS–A daily passenger ferry service linking St. Eustatius with St. Maarten is scheduled to start in 2017. The initiative was announced Monday during the opening day of the Sustainability Conference at Mike E. van Putten Youth Centre.
“We are currently finalising the purchase of a vessel that accommodates 350 passengers. Our twice-daily sailings in both directions will commence during the third quarter of next year. A one-way ticket between the two islands will be priced at US $50,” said Wagenborg Passengers Services Chief Executive Officer Ger van Langen.
The company is a division of the Royal Wagenborg Group, which has an annual turnover of 600 million euros.
“Our division already leads with providing reliable services to the European Dutch islands. We have transported hundreds of thousands of passengers each season to the Wadden islands Ameland and Schiermonnikoog for over the last 100 years,” Van Langen stated. “I have been personally involved with this development for Statia for the last five years, and I am extremely delighted that I can lay the golden egg that will make the ‘Historical Gem’ more accessible.”
In addition to daily sailings to St. Maarten, Van Langen plans to introduce a twice-weekly ferry service from Statia to St. Kitts. “However, freight capacity will be limited,” he explained. “But we shall have a roll-on roll-off accommodation for 10 cars. Various agreements will have to be secured with local and central Government agencies, not least of all with the Department of Homeland Security.”
Van Langen met with Commissioner of Tourism Derrick Simmons on Monday to communicate his company’s plans and initiate discussions.
Enthusiasm for the new ferry service was clearly expressed by conference delegates. St. Eustatius National Parks Stenapa Director Clarisse Buma was “thrilled” by the news. “Nature and tourism can go hand in hand,” she said. “Statia has some wonderful natural resources, such as great hiking trails, The Quill, Miriam C. Schmidt Botanical Garden and our blue Caribbean waters. The more visitors, including day trippers, exploring our nature, the more will be our fame. What is the point of a beauty that is not beheld?”
Bron: Daily Herald