Antigua Barbuda Port Authority clarifies misleading report on Tug Operations and explains leasing decision

Port of St. John's

The Antigua Barbuda Port Authority (ABPA) would like to address a recent report published in Antigua Real News on May 8th, 2023 entitled  “Watts ‘put out by Port Authority’s alleged arrangement to rent tugs and crews from Dominica in possible enrichment scheme” in which a Member of Parliament made slanderous allegations regarding the operations of the Port Authority’s tugs.

The report alleged that the Port Authority did not have a tug of its own and was instead renting tugs from Dominica. It also claimed that certain officials at the Port were enriching themselves through corrupt practices.

We would like to clarify that the Antigua Port Authority has been leasing tugs from Midgard / Caribbean Towing LTD, a sister company, for the past 6 years to carry out its maritime obligations in providing towage services. We currently have three tugs, which are being utilized as needed. One of these tugs, “Tug Istria,” is on lease with a financial commitment of $20,000 USD a month and an additional remuneration to the captain attached to the tug of $9,500 XCD. The other two tugs, “Tug Hugo” and “Tug La Dani,” are charged based on usage, either $200 USD per move or $1500 USD per hour, respectively.

The Port Authority would also like to provide further context on our decision to lease tugs. In 2009, the previous administration sold one of our tugs, and the other was not maintained properly, rendering it unseaworthy and needing to be placed on dry dock. As a result, we were forced to explore leasing options for tugboats to fulfill our obligations.

After a thorough assessment of the overall cost of our tug operations, we found that the current leasing arrangement with Midgard / Caribbean Towing LTD was the best economic decision. The rates received from the Tug company are suitable and way below the current market price for tug leasing within the region. Furthermore, leasing the tugboat provides significant cost savings compared to purchasing a brand new tugboat. The cost of a new tugboat can be exorbitant, and it requires a large upfront capital investment. Maintenance costs, repairs, and other associated expenses add to the already high costs of ownership.

In addition, we would like to clarify that all of our tugs are registered with the Antigua Department of Maritime Services (ADOMS) under the Flag of Antigua & Barbuda. We ensure that all crew members are properly trained and qualified for their positions.

We would like to assure the public that the Antigua Barbuda Port Authority is committed to upholding the highest standards of transparency and accountability. We take any allegations of corrupt practices seriously and would investigate any such claims thoroughly.

We encourage members of the public to seek accurate information and not to be swayed by baseless allegations made for political gain.

For any further information, please contact the Antigua Barbuda Port Authority.


The Antigua Barbuda Port Authority

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  1. WHY the heck the PORT AUTHORITY CANNOT BUY 2 FREAKING TUGS? I do believed someone is enriching self at the expense of the People.

    • If the previous administration didn’t sell off our tug boat, we wouldn’t be in this position, and had they maintained what was left, one wouldn’t be on dry dock for lack of maintenance.

      • Yea after your party was returned to office since 2014, the inept bafoons in your party continues to blame UPP for their failures. With all the CIP funds collected not even 1 tug they could buy.

        That clarification by Telemack and nothing is the same thing.

  2. Who owns the tugs? Don’t try and tell us that you paying below market rate to try and legitimize the corrupt practices. You people really think the general public is stupid. I am amazed this is the mentality of Gaston and his cronies in 2023.

  3. This response is so misleading it almost looks like a knee jerk response from the Crooked Master.
    One question I would like answered is if the agreement is fixed at a particular cost level, why are the Ship Owners who use these tugs charged Over Time for Tug Crew. Shouldn’t that be covered by the Tug Owners. Is the port responsible for paying Tug Crew Overtime to these foreign crew members. Also the Istra is a 55 year old Tug registered in Dominica.

  4. This sounds like a teenage girl on her period wrote this. The line about not being swayed and all that crap just sounds like emotional garbage. But if the Port Authority plans to be around like say, for ever? E nuh mek sense for buy bloodcl*&t tugs? Even with the heavy upfront cost, wouldn’t it save and be better in the long- run for the COUNTRY to have its own tugs? I capitalize country because long after that man deh gone, the port go til deh. And how come we never know about a “sister company” of the national port? Dis fall under NAMCO?

  5. This is ridiculous. Tonight I got so angry with this explanation on ABS news. So now I am reading it word for word I want to vomit. You people really take us for idiots here in this country. Always blaming the opposition. Firstly you said that UPP sold one of our tugs in 2009 and the other is not maintained. So it was the the past officials of government that were responsible for the maintenance? Now between 2009 and now -14 years have passed so why on earth you are try to cast blame on the past administration? Any fool would know to rent a tug for 20,000 USD or 52,000.00 XCD a ton of money. That is $624,000.00 yearly. Hey we have three of them – look 👀 ah money! Then we have our own Harbour masters but we are paying for the captains another 10,000.00 per month. What else is he getting- transportation and accommodation? So who owns these tugs? Which politicians are gaining mercilessly from them. I am seeing a pattern building here. Which politician is in charge of the port? Which politician right hand lady has been chairwoman of the Port from since ABLP took over government. Which politician owns the excavator that is scooping out the deep water Harbour? How many times have port paid for that excavator? Whooiee I smell a big fat rat , a big greedy fat point rat. Calypso king going down point, Steel ban crown going Dow point, king of the band going down point, queen of the band going down point, road march champion going down point and calypso crown going down point FM and villa. Madam senator you are going to go to 1735 for aiding and abetting. Everything in Antigua is corrupt. This needs a full inquiry , This port authority needs a full public investigation now .

  6. Re: Tug Istria:
    Now tell us if the $9,540 ecd for the captain is daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or annually.
    The same is collecting $20,000 usd per month or $648,000 ecd per year.
    Somebody is getting a kickback.

  7. Midgard / Caribbean Towing LTD??

    Who are the owners/share holders of such companies?

    Where is such company registered?

    Was such transaction Tendered?

    Me RH!?? at the rates you are stating, then it is cheaper to purchase and maintain at least one tug!!

    Who is Port Authority Accountant? Cause their heads need to be place on platter
    Who are the members of board for Port Authority? Cause their heads need to be placed on a platter for such a mismanagement of funds et al.

  8. This explanation actually confirms corruption. After taking out a loan of over 100 million UA dollars to build out the port, purchasing three new tugs is a burden?
    If the port was a short term operation that explanation may be acceptable. However the port is a long term investment with sights set on transhipment capabilities.

    • Politics and politicians need a clean sweep and a deep clean. Everywhere you turn, somebody ah get back-handers, and then the country suffers for years/decades.

      The dead can’t Bury in the new cemetery that was promised, workers and pensioners can’t get their money, no accountability for the CIP and NAMCO funds from government, self-enrichment schemes
      for cabinet and family members and add infinitum with the ABLP.

      Independent accountability is long overdue here in Antigua & Barbuda.

  9. These idiots! Thinking the public will sit quietly and accept such laimbrained explanations and 14 years later blaming UPP.
    Something stinks here and I can just bet someone is getting fat. 12 billion plus in 8 years and you expect this stupid explanation to fly? Wasn’t Badu saying the other day that they are 10 million in surplus?
    When all is said and done, Gaston Browne has his hands in everything so we can expect nothing but greed and corruption.

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