New ferries for Robben Island

2014-02-18 08:34
Cape Town – Robben Island museum has announced that they will finally be investing in new ferries to transport visitors to the popular Cape Town tourist destination.  

IOL reports that this comes as a response to the public outcry over its poor services in December, the same month in which Nelson Mandela died.  

Various tour operators reported that they had received complaints from visitors who could not visit the island due to cancelled services.

Robben Island has been faced with ferry woes for a while now, with the museum forking out a hefty R10m on repairs and private boat hire in the past two years, despite spending R26m on a new state-of-the-art craft just five years ago.  

According to Robben Island Museum CEO, Sibongiseni Mkhize, confirmed that they have called for tenders and will only dealing with the companies which respond to their call for Expressions of Interest. The prospective suppliers have until March 14 to put it their tenders.

Although there are speculations that they will be investing in two new ferries, Mkhize said that the final decision will be arrived at once we have received proposals from the shipping companies. There are currently four ferries: Sikhululekile, Susan Kruger, Dias and the cargo ferry Blouberg.    

Sikhululekile was the last new ferry acquired in 2008.

“Our assessment of the current operating model has shown us that we need a boat to complement Sikhululekile (the current flagship ferry) with both capacity and speed. However, the new ferry or ferries do not necessarily have to be the same capacity as the current main ferry,” he said.  

The procurement process is expected to take at least six months, which means that the new ferries will only be instituted after this. Mkhize added that the old ferries are part of the history of Robben Island and will not be discarded.  

“We envisage using the heritage boats as part of a special tour package for those tourists who want an authentic experience because they were utilised during the time when the island was a prison,” he said.    

Have you been to Robben Island lately? What was your experience like? Tell us more in the comment section below, chat to us on Facebook, tweet us at @news24travel or send us a mail to info@news24travel.com 
Read more on:    robben island  |  travel  |  travel south africa
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