Kochi: The Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) is all set to launch a luxury cruise liner in Kochi by December this year. The vessel with 200 seating capacity is estimated to Rs 16-crore, Tom Jose additional chief secretary (Shipping and Labour) told reporters on Friday. “We hope to have good response for this from people looking for business conferences, event hosting and group cruising. The air-conditioned vessel with upper deck and lower decks will have all such facilities”, Mr. Jose said.
On the coastal possibilities of coastal shipping services connecting various points in the state, Mr. Jose said the project depends upon a policy level decision. “The average time for a traveling by sea from Kochi to Kozhikode will be four hours. The average cost per person will be around Rs 2,500. The issue is whether people will be willing to spend such an amount”, he pointed out. Mr. Jose said this is an issue that needed to be discussed at the highest before taking a decision. Mr. Jose said that two Kattamaran boats fitted with double engines will also be ready for services in the near future. The work on these two vessels is progressing rapidly, he added.
He was in Kochi to have an on the inspection of the Fort Queen, the new vessel built by the KSINC for the Kochi Corporation on Friday. The double engine vessel built using steel can carry 146 passengers. The Kochi Corporation has given the order for the boat following the Vypeen Boat tragedy in August 2015 claiming the lives of 11 persons. The vessel built at the Thoppumpady yard of the KSINC is all set to be handed over to the civic body, said Anoop Kumar KR, manager of (technical) KSINC. The vessel will be plying between the Fort Kochi and Vypeen. The vessel, the largest of its kind built in the state, is having a length of 21 metres and width of 6.30 metres.