Two new ferry boats, costing nearly $8 million, are expected to go into service between Red Hook and Cruz bay by the end of the year.
Darryl Smalls, commissioner of Public Works, said the cost of the craft is being borne by the federal government through a grant from the Tranportation department and federal stimulus funds.
"Those vessels, the first in the country that are being constructed under new U.S. Coast Guard regulations for passenger vessels, should be delivered by the third quarter of this fiscal year and go into operation soon after," Smalls said. "The territory's two franchise ferry companies will lease and operate the ferries, which will improve the speed, service, reliability and capacity of the ferry service that so many Virgin Islanders and tourists rely on every day."
The 85-foot aluminum catamarans are being built by Midship Marine Inc., a Louisiana company. Each can carry 250 passengers.