THE five iconic Penang ferries will soon reappear in Penang waters in the form of a floating museum, two floating restaurants and two tourist ferries.
Penang Port Commission (PPC) chairman Datuk Tan Teik Cheng said the ferries - Talang-Talang, Pulau Payar, Pulau Undan, Pulau Kapas and Pulau Pinang - were handed over to the three eligible companies in an online ceremony on Thursday.
Of the five ferries, only Talang-Talang and Pulau Undan are able to sail. The other three cannot be repaired and have ceased operations by end of 2019.
“Both PCC and the companies have signed a ferry lease contract of 10 years with an option for a five-year extension.
“The companies that took over the ferries will need to pay a RM200,000 collateral to PPC for each ferry.
“I believe these iconic ferries can be popular tourist spots that can stimulate the state’s economy,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
Tan said PPC started a tender for the five ferries via a request for proposal (RFP) from Jan 29 to March 19 this year.
The three companies were chosen after several interview sessions before the terms and conditions were finalised during a meeting in mid-June.
Tan said the Pulau Pinang ferry would be refurbished and converted into a floating museum at Tanjung City Marina.
Printhero Merchandise (M) Sdn Bhd was picked to manage the ferry because of its experience in managing souvenir shops at the foothill of Penang Hill, Muzium Negara and Muzium Perak.
“This ferry museum will feature photo exhibits, visuals, souvenir shops, a cafe and photography spots.
“The company will ensure that the ferry brings nostalgia to Penangites with its history,” he said.
As for Pulau Kapas and Pulau Payar ferries, Tan said they were handed over to Chuen Shin Aquaculture Sdn Bhd to be turned into floating restaurants.
“Both ferries will be placed near Pulau Jerejak.
“This is because the company is knowledgeable in maritime sector. They manage a few seafood restaurants and have their own fish farms near Pulau Jerejak.
“This would allow tourists to visit the fish farms and enjoy seafood onboard the floating restaurants facing the Penang Strait.
“Visitors can enjoy the view of Pulau Jerejak and Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge,” he said.
As for the tourist ferries Pulau Undan and Pulau Talang-Talang which can still sail, they will be anchored at the Swettenham Pier and only carry passengers without vehicles.
The ferries will feature a restaurant, conference room, restaurants for events and weddings, stores selling local products, souvenirs and more.
“The ferries will be managed by the Kantan Jaya company who has some 40 years of experience in handling and maintaining ships and ferries.
“This will allow the company to ensure the ferry services can be continuously maintained.
“As both ferries are old and are unable to sail for long, we believe the company has the needed experience to fix and schedule the operation hours.
“Both ferries will be reviewed by the Marine Department of Malaysia (JLM) before they set out to the sea,” he said.