V. Sajeev Kumar

Kochi, July 7

KERALA Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) has taken the first step towards operating a ship service between Vizhinjam and Colombo, with its Director Board approving a proposal for the acquisition of a vessel.

The proposal has been placed before the Kerala Government for administrative sanction and after that KSINC will go in for global tenders for the acquisition of 700-passenger capacity vessel with a speed of 20-25 knots, Mr K.N. Satheesh, Managing Director, KSINC, told Business Line.

The Corporation had proposed to buy a second hand ship considering the huge cost involved in buying a new one. The cost of the vessel is estimated at Rs 35-50 crore.

Financial institutions and banks had agreed to extend all help in acquiring the ship as the feasibility to start such service had already made by the Sri Lanka-based Golden Cruise Line two years ago, he said.

The decision to acquire a ship was taken in view of the objection raised by the Director General of Shipping (DGS) for the two ships in which KSINC had proposed to take on lease for the commencement of the service.

According to Mr Satheesh, the DGS was not satisfied with the safety requirements and class of the two Panama registered vessels. The authorities had also demanded international voyage permission for those vessels.

Referring to other activities of the Corporation, the Managing Director said that KSINC is participating in the tender floated by the Shipping Corporation of India to construct 6 seagoing barges for Lakshadweep administration for the transportation of petroleum products between various islands there.

The barges with a capacity of 150-tonne each will have the provision for carrying HSD and kerosene in two separate tanks. The quantity of oil products to be moved between various islands is estimated at 25,000 tonnes per annum, he said.

KSINC is also awaiting permission from the State Government for the construction of two 600-tonne bulk carriers for the movement of raw materials in the waterways. The estimated cost of the carrier will be to the tune of Rs 3 crore, he added.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 8, 2005)
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