Sabanto: more than just a ferry!

DPI, Guyana, Friday, October 25, 2019

When you think about safe and reliable transport between Parika and Supenaam, one thing comes to mind and that is the passenger-cargo ferry – MV Sabanto.

On an annual basis, the Canada-Guyana Outreach Mission comes to Guyana to provide free medical services in many communities, including some in the Pomeroon River. Conrad Joseph, who is a Guyanese living in Canada and an executive member of the medical mission, says the ferry plays a pivotal role in the execution of their work.

“It is very critical because of the loads that we bring. We come with a lot of meds and a lot of equipment, a lot of wheelchairs,” Conrad told the Department of Public Information (DPI). The transport of these supplies, in a major way, lead to the delivery of quality healthcare to persons living with disabilities.

Another commuter, Nazia Persaud also shared her thoughts on the ferry and the essential service it provides for the river travellers. “It’s cheaper especially for senior citizens – whenever my father comes, he enjoys coming without the $380 for the tickets and with him, he comes free. Unlike with the speedboat you have to pay $1,300 and if you’re unfortunate and the last boat is going you end up paying $2,000.”

The ferry is ideal for families with children. Shenny Doodnaught, a former teacher and mother of three children, sees the Sabanto as therapeutic. “Normally, when I take my children to Georgetown, in the August holidays. I would use the ferry because it’s safer. That’s the reason and you’re relaxed,” Shenny stated.

Manning the Sabanto is Captain Navendra Singh. He has 12 years’ experience on Guyana’s waters. During a walkabout the vessel, Capt. Singh explained the ins and out of the Sabanto.

“As you board the vessel, you come onto the vehicle deck. After the vehicle deck, you come upstairs. That’s the passenger deck where you have passenger accommodation. The canteen you reach and everything. And as you come upstairs, the navigation deck,” Capt. Singh outlined.

Outfitted with numerous safety features, the 11 crew members aboard the vessel ensure the security passengers and are both trained and prepared in the likelihood the unthinkable occurs.

“We have life rings, we have lifeboats. We have life jackets. In case of an outbreak of fire, we have fire extinguishers. We have the fire pump and hoses,” the Captain mentioned.

The fare structure to travel on the MV Sabanto is as follows:

Adults $380 Children $190

Cars and 15-Seater Buses $1,140

Small Canters $2,140

Large Canters $4,380

Trucks $6,880 and $9,840

Cargo $1,880 per ton

Below is an outline of the departure times that are dependent on tidal conditions:

Parika at 05:00hrs

Supenaam 12:00hrs

Parika at 16:00hrs

The MV Sabanto was procured at the coast of $2.97Billion and has the capacity to transport 800 passengers. Under the Coalition Government, senior citizens have been able to enjoy free travel aboard the vessels that Transport and Harbour Department control. As of November 1, all senior citizens will be allowed to sail with the first 25kg of cargo free of cost.