Test Trip of the ‘Perseverancia’ to Cuba’s Isla de la Juventud To Enter Into Service ‘Before the End of July’

The ferry Perseverancia on its test trip on Tuesday. (Cubadebate)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 7 July 2023 – A year after the imminent launch of a new ship to serve the Isla de la Juventud was announced with great fanfare in the official media, the first test trip of the Perseverancia finally took place.

The Cuban Minister of Transport, Eduardo Rodríguez Dávila, visiting Girona to supervise this “technical crossing,” described it as “successful,” but said that since the boat “transported few personnel and little rolling cargo, other navigation tests at full capacity” will be carried out. The operation of the boat, he said, will begin “before the end of the current month of July.”

The trip between Batabanó, in the province of Mayabeque, and the port of Nueva Gerona on the Isla de la Juventud, a journey of 65 miles, will have an estimated duration, as it was said at the time, of five hours. However, the minister explained that “the real time for a round trip can be or exceed 12 hours.”

The ferry has twice the capacity of the old catamarans that performed the service and can carry 430 passengers in addition to vehicles and cargo.

Tuesday’s article doesn’t give any explanation for the delay in the start-up of this transport service, which in July 2022 was reported to be “in the next few days.”

Neither the schedules nor the ticket prices of have been defined yet, although it is anticipated that “It will not be the same as the catamaran, because this is a much more expensive boat.” The trip on the current catamarans, which users have complained about because of their poor condition, costs about 50 pesos.

Nor was it clarified where the Perseverancia came from. The Noticero Nacional said last year that it was acquired for a “million-dollar” amount somewhere in Asia — which most Cubans  understand as China — and it crossed seas and oceans to reach the Island. The report then highlighted it as a “trial by fire,” but there have been no further words about it.

On June 22, the authorities announced the resumption of the Cubana de Aviación route between Havana and Isla de la Juventud, with four weekly flights, operating until October 28.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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