Around 200 people gathered today in the port of Funchal in defense of the maritime connection between Madeira and mainland, just as the “Volcan de Tijarafe” ferry was preparing to make the last voyage of the year.
“What these people want is the same as the Regional Government. These people share exactly the same objectives as us, which is to have the operation year-round but supported by the Government of the Republic and by the State Budget,” said the vice – president of the executive, Pedro Calado.
On the other hand, one of the organizers of the demonstration, Paulo Farinha, of the “Cruise ferry-Madeira” movement, explained that the action consisted mainly of a “farewell”, a “farewell, even now”, because he is convinced that the ” to be perpetuated throughout the year. ”
“These people, from left to right, are here supporting the sea freeway all year round. This connection is for everyone and the Government of the Republic, as it supports the mobility of the area, should also support maritime mobility,” he said.
Meanwhile, the regional executive vice-president recalled that the contract signed with the Spanish shipowner Naviera Armas is valid until 2020, and each year the ship “Volcan de Tijarafe” will make 24 trips between Funchal and Portimão (12 in each direction), in the months of July, August and September.
“Today we wanted to welcome the operation as very positive, but we remember that it was a very difficult operation to set up,” said Pedro Calado, stressing that at first “all opposition parties were against.”
The governor pointed out that, in August and September of this year, 29% and 51% of passengers traveled, respectively, compared to the same period of 2011, when the Naviera Armas ferry operated in Madeira in the framework of a first operation.
“This means that the population has joined the project and we want to keep this operation [resumed in July 2019], we want the operation, in addition to the summer, as it is contracted for the next two years, to be extended throughout the year,” he said, credited, however, that the Regional Government does not have the financial capacity to bear the costs alone.
In total, between July and September, 10,800 passengers travelled between Funchal and Portimão, in the “Volcan de Tijarafe”, and the ferry also transported 300 vehicles.
Pedro Calado, meanwhile, mentioned the 95 million euros that the national executive will spend to take social passes above 40 euros, considering that he could also invest “six or seven million” to guarantee the principle of territorial continuity through a maritime link between Madeira and the mainland.
The “Volcan de Tijarafe” sailed from the port of Funchal at 6:00 p.m., leaving on the ground the group of demonstrators, which included leaders of several parties, with much noise and posters with inscriptions such as “PSD not fulfilled”, “Volta Ferry” or “For the right to the existence of a regular ferry connection throughout the year”.