Blues and Blues Ltd. from Anguilla will be the new operator of the ferry services between St. Eustatius, Saba, and St. Maarten and between St. Eustatius and St. Kitts.
The selection of Blues and Blues as the new ferry operator is the first phase. The next phase is the drafting of a so-called Public Service Obligation (PSO). The PSO will state the details of the public-private maritime connectivity agreement. It is estimated that the ferry operation can start earliest on November 1, 2021, depending on how long it takes to draft and sign the PSO agreement.
Funding for the ferry service comes from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (I&W) in The Hague, which has granted a subsidy of 2 million euros for the first two years to realize a sustainable PSO agreement.
The selection is the outcome of a successful tendering by the Public Entities Saba and St. Eustatius. The Public Entities jointly issued a tender document on June 30, 2021, inviting licensed ferry operators to submit a proposal to provide regular, affordable maritime connectivity between Saba, St. Eustatius, and St. Maarten and between St. Eustatius and St. Kitts.
By the end of August, a total of seven proposals were received from a variety of contenders. A selection committee comprising of members from the two islands assessed the proposals based on prior criteria. These criteria included the suitability of the ferry vessel, the proposed schedule, a profit and loss P&L statement in relation to the proposed schedule, a tariff proposal, and a vision on the long-term collaboration with the two Public Entities.
The committee unanimously selected Blues and Blues as the clear winner. The Anguillian company already provides cargo services to Saba and St. Eustatius and is an experienced ferry operator. The committee’s advice was presented to the governments of Saba and St. Eustatius and subsequently approved.
The ferry will provide same-day connectivity from Saba and St. Eustatius to St. Maarten, connectivity between Saba and St. Eustatius, as well as same-day connectivity between St. Eustatius and St. Kitts. The Public Entities St. Eustatius and Saba appreciate the amount of interest shown in the tender procedure and would like the thank all participating operators for their submissions.