Kochi: A senior official of the Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) will inspect the country’s first solar ferry boat on Monday following complaints of “sabotage attempt” against the newly-launched service in the Vaikom-Tavanakadavu section. According to the complaint filed by the State Water Transport Department, unidentified miscreants “removed” rudder installation in the cover of night last Wednesday, putting in danger lives of hundreds of passengers daily commuting in the 2.5 km section. The rudder device is used to change direction and control the boat.
“The inspection by the IRS Surveyor will cover angles like whether the rudder was removed deliberately by outside parties or it has occurred due to any technical issues,” sources said. The inspection result is crucial since the state government is planning to convert all diesel boats into solar ferries in a phased manner. Attempts are also on to roll out 10 more solar boats with the help of central fund.
The SWTD already filed a complaint with the Kottayam Superintendent of Police while terming the “sabotage attempt” as deliberate to prevent the first such venture turning into a success and subsequently the roll-out of more solar ferries.
“The rudder device is being fastened by six bolts and there is only a minor possibility of all of them getting loosened at once. We suspect a conspiracy to sabotage the solar ferry service and have taken up the issue with the transport minister and other concerned authorities,” he said. Meanwhile, the rudder device was recovered by divers and the same will be inspected by the IRS Surveyor.