Government signs contract to build second passenger boat

Mon. 03 of June of 2019, 08:56h

The policy of the Eight Constitutional Government aims to contribute to a more advanced country with the development of the various socio-economic sectors, namely the transport and communications sector.

In this sense and within the scope of the project for the development of Maritime Transport on the North Coast,the state of Timor-Leste and the Dutch shipbuilding company Damen Shipyardstoday, March 31, 2019, signed a shipbuilding contract

The Damen Shipyards group, which has more than 35 companies and shipyards in several countries, was chosen through an international procurement process which involved government agencies, namely APORTIL, an international specialist in naval engineering, Moeller GmbH and the rest of the IMS-Nord consultancy team.

The contract was signed at the Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão Hall of the Ministry of Finance, AitarakLaranDíli, by the Minister of Transport and Communications, José Agustinho da Silva and by the regional commercial director of Damen Shipyards, Gysbert Boersma, in the presence of the Minister State of Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Agio Pereira and the representative of the German Government, Philip Akimenko.

The contract covers the design, construction, delivery and delivery of a Ro-Ro passenger ferry designed to meet the needs of the country in the transport of people, vehicles and goods on the north coast of the island. This is a project co-financed by Timor-Leste and the Government of Germany, which the latter contributing USD $ 8.7 million and the former contributing $ 7.9 million.

The design and management of the construction project will be carried out by the DAMEN central offices in the Netherlands and the ferry will be built at DAMEN's Yichang shipyard in the People's Republic of China. The new passenger boat will have a width of 16 meters, a draft of 3.3 meters and a length of 67.3 meters, a deck of a height of 4.8 meters and will reach the maximum speed of 10 to 12 knots and will have a carrying capacity of more than 380 people. The new boat will replace the Nakroma, currently making the connection between Díli, the Oecusse enclave and the island of Ataúro, and which is in need of repairs.

The extension of maritime passenger connections will initially include a connection between Dili and Com, in addition to those already in place between Díli, Ataúro and Oecusse, with the aim of improving the quality of life of the populations in these areas.It will also be a strong development factor for the tourism sector, with special focus on the northeastern region of the island. It is expected that the new boat will start operating in 2021 and until then, there will be work done to improve and build support infrastructures.

In his speech, the Minister of Transport and Communications stated that "maritime transport is the key to the strategic development plan 2030" and that the "Eight Constitutional Government establishes as a priority plan the rehabilitation of regional ports in order to open new maritime connections between the north coast and the south coast of Timor-Leste.

José Agustinho da Silva also said that "the new ferry will help the connection between Dili and other regions and improve access to the market, education and institutions in Dili." He explained that, under this project, "in 2016, 20 Timorese have already been formed, with the support of the German Government, in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Constantino Soares, President of the Port Authority of Timor-Leste IP (Aportil), in his speech stressed that the new ferry will strengthen transport services on the north coast of the country to Dili-Oecusse and the island of Ataúro and develop new routes on the north and south coast of the country".

The regional commercial director of Damen said: "This project could be the beginning of a much broader bilateral cooperation between the Dutch company and the Timor-Leste Government, which could include other areas such as oil, natural gas and fisheries.

The ceremony was attended by several members of the Government, former members of the Executive, several members of parliament and heads of various Timorese public institutions, development partners and diplomatic corps.