Kochi: Considering the high-risk in conducting services on the Fort Kochi-Vypeen route that cuts across the 14-metre deep ship channel, the Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) will build twin engine “seaworthy” boats similar to the ones deployed in the Kanyakumari-Vivekananda Rock Memorial route.
The initial proposal was to go for a single engine steel vessel costing around `65 lakh.
“The new steel boat will cost Rs 1.5 crore and could accommodate 150 passengers instead of the usual 100. We have earlier constructed two boats, currently deployed in the Kanyakumari-Vivekananda Rock Memorial route. The new boat to the Kochi Corporation will be modelled after those and delivered in eight months time,” said a senior KSINC official.
Kochi Corporation Mayor Soumini Jain said the new design had been approved and the “sturdy” vessel would be deployed by the year-end.
The recent study report submitted to the Local Self Government by K Padmakumar, Additional Director General of Police (South Zone), on the August 26 Fort Kochi boat tragedy, recommended, among one of its main safety suggestions, to allow only double-engine boats to operate near the Kochi sea-mouth that includes the Fort Kochi-Vypeen route.
Meanwhile, the KSINC will also launch a boat service in the Vytilla-Fort Kochi section by October. “It’s a separate project wholly funded by us. The catamaran type fiberglass boat is under construction at the Timblo Dry dock in Goa and has a passenger capacity of 100 commuters,” the official said....