Ferries will cease passenger operations in April

Ferries del Caribe will "temporarily" shut down their passenger service between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic next 15 April when it plans on making their last trip from Santo Domingo.

According to what she told Diario Libre, Liana Peña, the executive vice-president of the company, the measure will be until they can resolve the impasse that they have with the administration of the Port of Mayaguez, where the company has its terminal on the neighboring island of Puerto Rico.

The news, which has still not been officially released by the company, has created unrest among the people that use the service and among the Dominican that directly or indirectly earn their living with the Ferry.

Wendy Garcia, a Dominican who lives in Puerto Rico and a regular user of the service, thinks that it should not be suspended, "because the Ferry helps both countries". "This (the closure) is going to make it hard for everyone.", she said.

The Dominicans who reside in the neighboring island frequently use the Ferry service because it allows them to bring things that are not possible to carry on an airplane, such as appliances, foodstuffs, furniture and vehicles.

Regarding this point, the vice-president of Ferries del Caribe made it clear that they would continue freight service through their franchise with Marine Express and that they would protect the employees of the freight service.

The executive said that after Holy Week they would public an announcement with all the details about de cessation of operations.

Liana Peña said that if the conflict with the Port of Mayaguez is solved, they would renew passenger service in December. She specified that persons who have already purchased tickets for dates after 15 April will be "repositioned".


Emperatriz Ramirez, who sells telephone calling cards to the passengers of the Ferry, also lamented the closing of operations. The woman, a single mom, said that since she found out the news she has not been able to sleep. Among those affected are taxi drivers, truckers and baggage handlers that move the merchandise that the Ferry hauls.

The last programmed departure of the Ferry from thePort of Santo Domingo is 15 April and the last arrival from Puerto Rico will be on 12 April. The company has been operating for 12 years in the country, with some brief interruptions. The itinerary included three trips a week between Santo Domingo and Puerto Rico and on each one they carry an average of 350 persons.
20100401 http://www.diariolibre.com

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