Sunday, July 1, 2012
Three private ferries will be put into service to help improve the service between Fajardo, Puerto Rico, and the offshore islands of Culebra and Vieques. The three private ferries: two cargo boats and a passenger vessel, were contracted from Puerto Rico Fast Ferries to help the Maritime Transport Authority (public ferry service) with some unreliability problems, that were creating protest from Vieques and Culebra residents. Many rely on the ferry service to get to work, shop or get medical care on the main island of Puerto Rico.
The 160-foot cargo ferries can carry a deck load of 280 tons, equivalent to six 40-foot containers or between 12 to 18 cars. Both have room for 68 passengers in an air-conditioned cabin. The cargo ferries can reach speeds of 34 miles per hour, and can go from Fajardo to Culebra or Vieques in just under 45 minutes. The 151-foot passenger ferry has room for 378 passengers and has a twin-hull design providing for a smooth ride. The passenger ferry can travel 40 miles per hour, making the travel from Fajardo to Vieques and Culebra in 30 minutes. Each ferry has three plasma TV screens for entertainment.
With the private ferries, the offshore islands will be more accessible to visitors, and this will help increase tourism to Vieques and Culebra.