The government is at an advanced stage of discussions with Austal, the Australian shipping company, on a partnership to set up a program in Chaguaramas aimed at developing a robust naval maintenance industry.
The Prime Minister announced it at Coast Guard Headquarters in Staubles Bay, Chaguaramas, during the arrival ceremony of the Austal Cape TT Port of Spain and TT Scarborough Class Patrol Vessels.
Dr Rowley said the country can only get the most out of its ships if there is a program for its engineers to perform regular maintenance at the right time.
“In this context, discussions are underway and well advanced for Austal not only to be the supplier of these two vessels, but to partner with the government of TT, here in the Chaguaramas peninsula, to establish, maintain and develop a maintenance vessel Company I hope these discussions will be concluded soon.
The intention is to use the facilities of CL Marine Ltd Caribbean Dockyard and Engineering Services as a maintenance center, Rowley said.
“The aim is to develop this service in such a way, in Chaguaramas, that we have the equipment and the personnel necessary to provide this broader service not only to the Coast Guard but to the private sector across TT and in the Caribbean.
“To do this, Austal will work alongside us, provide us with the training, equipment and confidence to perform such maintenance, and we will take into this arrangement qualified and enthusiastic people – men and women – who are ready. to do the navy. engineering services and ship service a career in TT. “
He said he hoped to launch very soon “this type of development, which will become another important effort to diversify the economy … As an island nation, we believe that if we make this type of investment, we can not only create a base of support for our Coast Guard assets, but create employment opportunities and export services.
He said without a proper maintenance program all government efforts would be in vain.
Until this program was implemented, Rowley pleaded with Coast Guard officials to ensure that regular maintenance is performed to avoid unmanageable mechanical issues.
“I want to say to the senior executives responsible for managing these assets: this is a significant investment by the people at TT, and I call on you to treat them as such.
“These ships are not only Coast Guard vessels, but also provide an opportunity for us to increase our involvement in marine engineering, ship repair and boat repair and the development of people with the skills. here at TT, having been trained to have wider and deeper quarries, for these ships will only be of great use to us if they are maintained. “
The patrol boats were handed over to Trinidad and Tobago in May and arrived in the country on July 7. The 58-meter ships can stay at sea for up to 28 days on patrol and can accommodate 27 crew members.