SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, July 23) - A group of Australian investors will operate early next year a brand new ferryboat that can carry 150 passengers and 25 vehicles on a single Saipan-Tinian trip, Variety learned.

Tinian, which relies heavily on ferry service for inter-island transportation, is currently served by only one vessel — the Tinian Express.

Air transportation to the island can only bring in a few passengers on one trip.

Antonio Cabrera, seaport manager of the Commonwealth Ports Authority, yesterday said the new ferryboat would complement the services offered by the Tinian Express.

"Aside from having another dependable ferry boat service, it will also serve emergency purposes. If, for example, there’s a big fire on Tinian, we could send our fire trucks from Saipan. We could also transport patients for referrals to Saipan," Cabrera told Variety.

The new ferryboat’s owner is Islands Transport, a locally incorporated company that consists mostly of Australian investors.

Their 100-ft. long and 40-ft. wide ferryboat is estimated to cost between $3 million and $6 million, and is equipped with the most modern navigational equipment, Cabrera said.

"It’s a unique ferry service. You don’t need to rent a car when you go from one island to another. You can bring your car from Tinian and fill it up with one month of goods from Saipan. It can carry about 150 passengers and about 25 vehicles," Cabrera said.

July 23, 2003

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