Ferry to connect Saipan, Tinian

Move seen to open up tourism on Tinian

Group photo shows the participants at the naming ceremony for the Sand Diamond at the Guangdong shipyard in China last week. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

Tinian took a major step last week toward opening up the island to tourism with a ferry service that will link it to Saipan before the year ends.

Bridge Investment Group, which is developing a casino resort on Tinian, has leased the 49.5-meter Sand Diamond, which can carry 290 people and more than 30 cars.

It is expected to begin regular daily sailings by the end of this year, according to a statement from the casino consulting company that is assisting Bridge Investment Group with the casino on Tinian. 

A naming ceremony for the vessel was held in Guangdong Province, China, last week. The ceremony was attended by Sen. Francisco Q. Cruz (R-Tinian), who is floor leader of the Tinian and Aguiguan Legislative Delegation, and Senate vice president Sen. Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian) of the 21st CNMI Legislature and chairman of the Tinian and Aguiguan Legislative Delegation.

 “The Commonwealth’s leaders are always seeking for ways to better the islands’ economy and, with this objective in mind, we welcome business leaders and investors with the hope of working together strategically to improve the Northern Marianas for all of our people through economic development opportunities,” said Hofschneider.

Danny Ewing, director of operations of U.S.-based casino consultants to the project, Clear Management, said, “The launch of the Sand Diamond will cater to the large demand for Saipan visitors to experience Tinian and all the entertainment options it offers….”

The Tinian casino itself that Bridge Investment Group is developing on Tinian is scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2020, according to the Clear Management statement.

Previously, the only access to Tinian has been by plane, soon after the defunct Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino shut down the ferry service it used to operate between Saipan and Tinian.

According to the press statement, the Tinian casino is the first phase in a master plan for the Wyndham Hotel & Resort, billed as the largest tourism and hospitality investment on the island.

“Wyndham Hotel Group, as the international operator, is excited to see this latest commitment by the owners and developers of the Wyndham Hotel & Resort Tinian,” said David Wray, Wyndham senior vice president, Acquisition and Development. “The introduction of this luxurious fast ferry service, will open up to the world the treasures of Tinian and the opportunity to experience one of the world’s most beautiful islands.”

Saipan Tribune
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