A New Barge Is On Island & Will Hopefully Run Soon… Hopefully.

A New Barge Is On Island & Will Hopefully Run Soon... Hopefully. 1
The Big Red Barge

So as you all know, our barge situation has been precarious since the 2017 hurricanes. We have three barge companies – Global Marine, which runs the General II; Love City Car Ferries, which runs the Grand Vic; and Boyson, Inc., which used to run the Mister B. The Mister B, the largest of the barges, was heavily damaged during the 2017 hurricanes and was taken to the States for repairs in late 2017. That barge has never returned, and we recently learned the company lost the barge due to the company’s legal issues pertaining to unpaid debts.

We currently have two barges that are running – the General II and Grand Vic. The General II has been down for a few days, leaving us with just one. But guess what? We have a brand new barge that is here on island and ready to transport passengers between St. John and St. Thomas. This could greatly alleviate the barge mess. But it’s sitting at the dock. And it may continue to sit there. So we’re asking that you voice your opinions and help us change this.

Delbert Parsons is a businessman here on island. He owns Seashore Allure along with Delrise Varlack. The Virgin Islands Port Authority contacted Delbert after the 2017 hurricanes and basically said they needed help to fix the barge situation. So he met with the Port Authority board, and they told him to move forward with procuring a new barge for the islands. He followed all of their instructions and brought his new barge, the Big Red Barge, to the islands late last month. He was told all he needed to do was pass a Coast Guard inspection, and he would be added to the schedule. He did just that, yet the Big Red Barge continues to sit at the dock. Delbert blames island politics.

“It’s kinda crazy to see the public suffering every day ‘mon,” Delbert told me yesterday afternoon. “The competition say they don’t want it, but the public want it.”

(Random side note: The Big Red Barge has firefighting abilities too. How cool is that?! That in itself is a huge asset.)

According to Delbert, the three barge companies – Global Marine, Love City Car Ferries and Boyson, Inc. – went straight to the governor and asked that Big Red not be added to the schedule.

“They went to the governor to stop the barge from running. Why is the governor getting involved? It’s crazy,” Delbert said. “How can a company with no barge go to the governor to stop me? But they did!”

According to Delbert, Varlack Ventures – one of the two companies that runs the passenger ferries – tried to enter the barge game three years ago, but were stopped by the three companies. They told the Port Authority they could “get the job done,” Delbert said. But clearly they could not. Three years later and the barge situation is still a mess. The General II goes down from time to time, and people get stranded at both docks.

The Port Authority board is scheduled to meet today and Delbert believes his barge will be discussed. If it goes in his favor, Delbert hopes his barge will run on the half hour. Currently, one barge leaves each dock on the hour.

So we’re curious about your thoughts? Do you think we need another barge here on St. John? Please answer the poll below.

We removed the poll from the website. We had well over 1,000 votes that originated from an IP address located in a specific US city. The IP address was not a shared IP address, but one linked to a specific user; therefore negatively affecting a simple poll. 

If you’d like to express your opinion to the governor, please click this link to send him a message. 

And if you’d like to express your opinion to the Port Authority, please click this link to send a message.

We will keep you all posted on this.

19 thoughts on “A New Barge Is On Island & Will Hopefully Run Soon… Hopefully.”

  1. Did you reach out to any of the existing companies to hear their views on VIPA, the barge situation, and/or the possibility of a new barge? Also, has anyone bothered to ask why one of the existing companies also has an operational vessel that is not on the run? A lot of this is mired in “island politics”. However, this is a very biased perspective that fails to explain the context.

  2. The PEOPLE of the Virgin islands are so ass backwards. Why, we the people who have to depend on the barge need another alternative because on Monday 11/18/19 i sat in the barge line on the dock for 2 hours just to go to st. Thomas to get to the airport which was rediculous because Global Marine was not running that day. My intentions was to be on the 10am ferry but was on the 12 because Capt Vic was the only one running. This company does not want the other to make money, plenty cars plenty more money.

  3. Who did you speak to and when did you attempt to make contact? You didn’t reach out to me and, none of my fellow members of the Association of Car Ferry Operators are aware of being contacted.

        • Sure, if you’d like to share your side of the story, of course. I’ve contacted the barge companies numerous times over the years, and never received responses. I would love to have a conversation, so we can all move toward a solution for the barge problem.

  4. I am a visitor to St John and a regular on the St John TripAdvisor forum. The barges are a frequent topic on the forum. Most people voicing their frustration with the unreliability of the bargesdue to breakdowns etc. Understandably, For at least a year after the hurricanes members of the forum were discouraging visitors from using the barges so building materials can be prioritized. Now that we are two years post hurricanes, as a visitor I would like to see more reliability in the barge service. They break down and I realize that is going to happen but when you have a plane to catch and you are waiting in line for two hours for a repair to the lift to be done it makes for a nerve racking day. Also, I don’t want to compete for a barge spot with people who are heading to work. I have never been on a barge that wasn’t fully loaded with cars. I believe there is an obvious need for another barge.

    • I agree. The only time I have ever experienced a near empty barge was when I flew out on Thanksgiving day a few years ago. I left mid morning that day. I think there were 5 or 6 cars and a motorcycle heading to St Thomas.

  5. Would the same IP address happen to be 66.248.183.139? That’s LCCN – Love City Community Network. They have over 500 users sharing the same IP.

  6. I am all about supporting our own, in making this a reality? I see Job opportunities, convenience and reliable accessibility to the communities.
    I vote YES

  7. Yes , Delbert Parsons sponsorship by The VI Port Authority is where the boots hit the ground ; all-good . Do ferries allow Cat Back-Hoe Loader (25,000 lb.) on ? I’ve been contemplating moving there 20+ year experience excavation / development small business . Any leads appreciated . [email protected]
    Jim Trimble 936-672-1600 (text plz)

  8. What does Mrs. Jones-Sprauve have to say about this?? It’s nonsense to have two workable barges sitting while the only 2 running are full, often late or broken down! Get real & stop playing around with the welfare of St Johnians, Port Authority & DPNR & Gov Payne & whomever else is behind this foolishness!

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