The opening of the V.I. Port Authoritys new Enighed Pond Marine Freight Facility on Monday, April 10, was a $16-million, inter-island traffic jam.
With one of the islands four Red Hook-St. John cargo vessels undergoing a scheduled drydock and another barge having its annual U.S. Coast Guard inspection, the flat-out refusal to operate at the new facility by the islands third cargo company left only one barge in operation as the port officially opened.
Of the islands three operators which carry cars and trucks between St. Thomas and St. John, only Boyson Inc.s General I was running Monday morning. Boysons General II is in New Orleans for its annual dry-docking inspection and is expected to return to the territory by late April.
Refusal To Operate
Global Marine owner Stanley Hedrington was on board Love City Car Ferries Captain Vic when it arrived at the Enighed facility shortly after 1 p.m. on Monday directly from its yearly USCG inspection.
Hedrington, whose company operates the barge Roanoake, refused to use the port on Monday, citing safety concerns including questions about the depth of the turnaround area.
One gentleman had a concern about the depth of the water, said V.I. Port Authority spokes-person Carol Henneman on Tuesday, April 11. He was given verification that its much deeper than what they need for the barges, so he should be in the loop by today.
Roanoake resumed operations on Tuesday.
Cheryl Boynes-Jackson of Boyson said she was fairly satisfied with the new facility, but improvements are needed.
I really dont have too many problems with the operation being in the Enighed Pond, except to say that Im hopeful that within the near future, they will have a public bathroom and running water, said Boynes-Jackson.
We definitely need water and electricity for the vessels, Boynes-Jackson added.
Barges need water to operate, and electricity at the dock would allow the vessels to cut down on the use of generators, she said.
Reduced use of the generator would reduce some of the noise, especially in the early morning and late night hours, said Boynes-Jackson.
Boyson has ordered a third barge that is twice the size of both General I and General II. The barge is traveling from New Orleans and is scheduled to arrive by the end of April, according to the Boyson Inc. general manager.
VIPA acknowledges work still needs to be done at Enighed Pond, said Henneman.
A temporary trailer is currently housing the dock masters office until a permanent building can be constructed, she added. We still have to build a building and the bathroom facilities, and that will get done shortly, she said. The report that I got was that things went better than we anticipated.
Enighed Pond has been long overdue, and everybody has been waiting on pins and needles, Henneman said.
It remains unclear what VIPA plans to do at the Cruz Bay creek bulkhead now that it is no longer being used by the barges. For several days following the opening of the Enighed facility taxis used the site for parking.
By Thursday, April 13, the bulkhead was chained off and a No Parking sign had been installed.