BVI News

BVIPA: Ferry operator at fault for Saturday’s fiasco! Probe launched

The Road Town Ferry Dock

Under public pressure and criticism about Saturday’s ferry terminal fiasco, the BVI Port Authority (BVIPA) has issued a statement blaming the ferry service that operated on the day.

The Ports gave indications that it did not give authorisation for the ferry operator in question to exceed the 50-person passenger limit that has been in place.

“The BVIPA wishes to, therefore, clarify that the situation which arose Saturday [May] 15th was a breach of the BVIPA’s transportation and travel protocol on the part of the ferry operator. One of the incoming ferries failed to cap its passengers at the required limit of 50,” the BVIPA said in a release this morning.

“In fact, that ferry transported in excess of 100 passengers into the territory, which breached the COVID-19 protection protocols, and caused a backlog in the Immigration and Customs processing of those passengers. This resulted in overcrowding at the terminal, discomfort and inconvenience of the passengers and staff, thus negatively impacting the service and image of the Ports,” it added.

Investigation underway, appropriate action to be taken

And while advising all ferry operators they must abide by the Port’s COVID-19 mandates, the BVIPA said a full investigation is underway into Saturday’s incident.

It further said “appropriate action will be taken with that ferry operator”.

“The Ports cannot afford possible repeat of such an occurrence,” the BVIPA stated. “In this time of heightened security, the Ports Authority takes seriously and prioritises the safety of all passengers, staff, and by extension, the people of the British Virgin Islands.”


In the meantime, the Ports also issued an apology for the inconvenience caused to passengers because of the breach.

It further assured that the system is designed to provide for a smooth experience while ensuring the safety and security of all passengers, as well as the staff of the Ports.

“While the BVIPA continues to scale its operations, the current restriction of 50 passengers per ferry remains firmly in place, to ensure continued efficiency in processing travellers. Adjustments to this limitation will be announced in coming days,” it further said.

Saturday the 15th marked the roll-out of the new protocols for vaccinated travellers. These protocols allow for fully vaccinated travellers to undergo a “limited quarantine period”. They can now enter the BVI, get tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, after which they proceed to quarantine for up to two days pending the result of the test. 

RT ferry terminal fiasco an int’l embarrassment

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  1. doh says:

    And the blame game begins…

    So if the ferry operator is at fault, fine them and pull their daily schedule. oh wait, that won’t happen as “they know someone.” In the meantime, we are a laughing stock of missteps. We can’t even follow through on our protocols and procedures. What the effin hell…

    We’re about to lose another season and this time we can’t blame covid, only ourselves.

    But carry on…

    Like 64
    Dislike 4
  2. ok says:

    yes they were wrong but the BVI Portal must of accepted over 100 entries for that day by ferry for them to be allowed to board the ferry. The blame lies with both the ferry operator and the operators of the BVI Portal who gave the permission to travel on that day…

    Like 49
  3. Reality says:

    The 50 passenger rule tells us that the BVI is NOT really open. The seaport is the main port for persons entering/leaving the BVI so in essence, we are F**KED until we get a real Government in place!

    Like 45
    Dislike 2
  4. cmonnn says:

    You guys really gonna sit there and act like this is the first breach? this happens all the time since the protocol was established . Its just that its now been brought to attention , you all know this been happening.

    Like 21
  5. What!!!! says:

    Who is willing to put down money that nothing is done to the ferry operator who caused all this trouble and probably put people off coming here?

    Like 30
    Dislike 1
  6. BVI Business says:

    What would have happened to the 50ppl in USVI if the ferry had left them at the dock?
    How did over 100 ppl get approved?
    BVI Tourism can’t survive on just 50 ppl arriving a day thru the ferry port.
    The Entry portal online is a mess, confusing to use and frustrating wait times for approval…sometimes just hours before arriving to USVI/BVI.
    This is not a good look for BVI Tourism! Please BVI Governemnt lets do Better!!!

    Like 48
  7. Trevor says:

    It is NOT the ferry fault.
    The government portal approved all of these people to arrive that day, how did they think that was going to happen?
    Who can split a family apart as only 50 can get on Board, the others to “get lost” ?
    That is our way of welcoming guests?
    This gov. department is simply not competent enough, needs training and management ASAP.

    Like 55
    • Agree says:

      How do you approve all these entries then blame it on the ferry operator. They have advanced noticed of numbers coming in on any given day, why not just schedule an addition ferry to accommodate all passengers. Keep in mind its not business as usual, covid test have expiration dates, if you leave people half way you its possible that these results can expire on them, a whole new set of problem.

      Like 15
    • @Trevor says:

      You are correct. The government portal approved all of these people to arrive that day. They should have set a limit on the portal for a specific number of approval for any given day. Maybe the system does not have a limit or it is not functioning properly.

  8. WEW says:

    They won’t do anything to the ferry operator. BVI where rules & laws are meant to be broken.

    Like 21
  9. Hmm says:

    I just want to know why the persons working behind the online portal system is taking so long to send out links for applicants to complete their applications. Some people are relying on fb to get their approval by two bvi tourist board employees. Why does this have to happen? who is in charge of handling the portal applications. Everyday you see on rb somebody requesting assistance with getting additional link or approval from the bvi gateway portal. Why why??

    Like 27
    Dislike 2
  10. Curious Mind says:

    So who it is gave that 120 people approval to come in on that date ? So as much as the ferry operator are to be blamed, those who approved these 120 people should be held responsible as well.

    Like 28
  11. Easy says:

    The easiest way to deal with this in the future is to allow the ferries to run their old schedules again so that there is not just one ferry bringing in everyone to enter by sea. If there had been a 12:30, 3 pm and 6 pm arrival it would have spread out the load so that passengers would have been processed in a reasonable time. Furthermore the government must make accommodations for more than 2 or 3 customs and immigration officers clearing passengers and then have at least 5 or more technicians checking documents and administering the Covid tests. This fiasco was not just the ferries fault but the system as a whole and it must be fixed immediately! Ferries must send their manifest across to the BVI prior to departing St Thomas so that the BVI port is ready and prepared to clear in an efficient and fast manner on arrival.

    Like 28
    Dislike 1
    • @easy says:

      Yup. This staggered schedule serves no purpose, except I guess them not having medical staff available to test. But I still stand by there being no need for that either.

  12. Hmmmm says:

    Anyone been to the Bahamas, lately? Don’t feel too bad! Five hours of hard work on three computers, and we have almost gotten four people and one boat checked in. Their portal must have been designed by that same bunch from Jamaica that the BVI used.

    Like 13
    Dislike 1
  13. fatty says:

    old photo. get new one.

  14. Eyes says:

    If it was the other way around , where the USVI had it in place where only 50 Person aloud to enter . The ferry will never have done that.

    Like 10
    Dislike 5
  15. We need answers says:

    Beavis and his sister again – Can somebody check out these devises. They don’t work and aren’t the both of them on the BVIPA board? isn’t this conflict of interest? Was this service tendered?

    Like 10
  16. Excuses Govt says:

    My God I cant take these people.. Its always someone elses fault.. They need to be the solution and stop elevating and promoting the problem..These dolly house leaders we have in position thats what they do best point fingers and find someone to blame instead of stepping their game up and start leading…

  17. Give Flax the Ministry says:

    Carvin cannot get this ministry handle, he just a good talker…Flax Charles is the best person for this ministry, She will get it handle, sometimes you have to switch them around, including the workers..

    Like 3
    Dislike 2
  18. Oh c'mon says:

    It is ridiculous that the BVIPA thinks that it is acceptable to lay the blame solely at the feet of the ferry operator. Nobody is convinced particularly when the Minister of Health alerted the public to the fact that there may be teething issues with respect to the revised entry protocols. All that happen is that wisdom teeth grow all over the mouth and t’een have nuh dentist experienced enough to deal with that level of mess. These people are all for the public show with zero credibility.

  19. We’ll see says:

    Daughter is stuck on ferry now going on one hour + at the RT terminal. No one has any idea what is happening. No BVI officials have been seen. Day 4 of the marine border opened for visitors. Customs then covid19 testing then quarantine, all costing her $. BVI LOVE?

  20. Wow says:

    Port you are full of s**t they providing a service how can they leave passengers where they didnt intend to ppl are crazy. The boats can carry 200 plus they bring 100 social distance was more than complied with blame yourself for the stupid schedule you all made and stop killing businesses that barely making it. Bunch of crooks and fools in charge of our affairs then them surprise when crime is on the rise you making rule that will put ppl out of jobs. Day after day we see the reaction of your decision and its ok to be cauious but over doing it is a next problem.

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  21. Give me a Break says:

    So here we go…..let’s blame the ferry operator. Truly we had at least an hour to try to mitigate that 5 hour wait for some visitors. I’m certain somebody knew when that boat left St. Thomas that there were over 100 persons on it. It isnt as if Tortola is so large that Immig Officers, Customs Officers, BVITB, Ports and additional staff from HSA could not be called in. Oh I forget…it was a Saturday…and I forget that we dont handle crisis management very well. add to that the fact that we just cant seem to make decisions….Woe is us…Give me a break

  22. ..... says:

    Imagine getting approval to go into the BVI but can’t board the ferry because they’re overbooked due to covid restrictions. it really is “First come first serve” at the ferry terminals. #BVILove

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