New ferries (not so) soon come

Midship Martine, a Louisiana manufacturer of aluminum boats, has won a contract to build two passenger ferries which will run from Red Hook to St. John.

Governor John de Jongh said the $7.6 million cost of the vessels is being provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aka "the Stimulus".

“The two new vessels we are purchasing will greatly improve the speed, service, reliability and capacity of the ferry service that so many Virgin Islanders and tourists depend on every day,” de Jongh said.

“The ferry experience will be better than it ever has been, once these catamarans go into operation, improving daily life for many St. John residents who commute to St. Thomas, and enhancing the vacations of thousands of tourists who travel between the islands each week."

Midship Marine will build two 85-foot aluminium catamarans over the next 18 months. They will replace the boats now used on the route and be owned by the VI government, which will lease them to companies that have the ferry franchise.

According to the St. John Source, the new ferries will only run from Red Hook and Ctuz Bay because the federal funding can only be used to support the federal highway system – of which the Cruz Bay-to-Red Hook run is a part.  Cruz Bay-to-Charlotte Amalie is not.

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