Government-owned fisheries company Koodoo has been tasked with providing ferry services in Gaaf Alif and Gaaf Dhaal atolls on a temporary basis, according to local media reports.
In March 2013, the transport ministry terminated an agreement with Trinus-CAE Holdings Pvt Ltd to provide public transport in the two atolls following interruptions in the service.
The private company was contracted to provide ferry services in November 2009 under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) policy of the ousted Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) government.
A nationwide transport network was one of five main pledges of the previous government.
In October 2012, the MDP-majority Gaaf Dhaal Atoll Council accused Trinus-CAE of ceasing ferry services and asked the transport ministry to cancel the agreement with the company.
The council said in a statement at the time that it was receiving a number of complaints from citizens inconvenienced by the unavailability of ferry services.
“The council believes that since the company that provides this service in the atoll has been given an uninhabited island [under the PPP programme] and continues to reap benefits from the island, the public should receive adequate services,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, Deputy Director at the Transport Ministry Abdulla Shakeeb told newspaper Haveeru today that ferry services will resume on Saturday (June 22) with five boats and the same ticket prices of MVR 25 for inter-atoll transport and MVR 50 between the two atolls.
Shakeeb said the government would make an announcement in the near future seeking a party to offer ferry services in the two southern atolls. He added that the ministry expected the bidding process to be completed in the next six months.
According to Sun Online, Deputy Transport Mahdhy Imad said at a ceremony held today to sign the agreement with Koodoo that the government would cover the cost of providing the service if the fisheries company was unable to do so. The government would however not provide any finances for Koodoo to commence the ferry service, he added.