Today’s Asbury Park Press reports that the SeaStreak ferry service from Atlantic Highlands and Highlands to Manhattan may be jeopardized by the sale of the service’s four vessels to the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago.
From the report, by business writer Michael Diamond:
Sea Containers Ltd., which is based in Bermuda and has offices in London, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a year ago. SeaStreak, one of its subsidiaries, has four ferries that make more than a dozen trips a day, shuttling commuters from ports in Atlantic Highlands and Highlands to Manhattan.
Sea Containers eventually put itself up for sale, and the process appeared to be gaining steam last month, when the Trinidad Express reported that Trinidad and Tobago agreed to buy the four catamarans to begin ferry service between its capital, Port of Spain, and San Fernando in southern Trinidad.
The government reportedly settled on a fare of less than $15 one-way and chose Bay State Cruise Co., a Boston-based ferry operator, to manage the service.
Calls to Sea Container’s bankruptcy attorney, the attorneys for unsecured creditors and Bay State Cruise Co. were not returned.
David Stafford, manager of SeaStreak, tells the Press that media reports that the Caribbean country agreed to buy four ferries from Sea Containers Inc. for $120 million are premature.
“It’s true that they have been inquiring, but it’s not true that they bought anything,” Stafford told the Press. “There are a number of people and companies looking at SeaStreak, and they’re one of them, but it hasn’t moved forward.”
What would become of the Atlantic Highlands and Highlands service if Trinidad and Tobago were to buy the boats isn’t clear. “It’s not intended that the service will stop,” Stafford said. “The service is very popular and profitable.”