Tunis — The Tunisian Navigation Company (CTN), which has just taken delivery of the new ship "Tanit" that landed June 16 in Goulette Port, has received proposals to turn "El Habib" car ferry into a floating hotel or a training school for naval officers, company officials suggested at a press conference held Friday.
They said, however, that "nothing has been decided yet" and that these proposals are to be studied.
El Habib car ferry, which has a capacity of 1,440 passengers and 430 vehicles, had operated regular crossings for 34 years between the ports of Marseille and Genoa. It is not longer capable, according to CTN, to operate on long haul.
Yet, the ship is in good condition, said CEO of the CTN, Jamel Gamra and not to be sold at an inadequate price, especially since it is, according to many Tunisians, a precious heritage and a symbolic property of Tunisia.
The company had already launched last April an international tender for the sale of the ship built in 1987 in Germany.
If the CTN will translate into concrete projects the proposals of converting the old car ferry it will certainly help strengthen the tourism sector, in general and boost port's activities, particularly since the country seeks to be a preferred destination of cruise tourism in the Mediterranean.
Indeed, new carry ferry "Tanit," whose cost is 357 million dinars (20% own financing of Tunisia and 80% by European banks), has more than the double of El Habib's capacity (3,200 passengers and 1,060 cars).
"Tanit" was built by South Korean Daewoo, the world's leading shipbuilding and offshore company.