State-owned Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) has introduced its solar-powered hybrid boat – Sooryamshu – in Kochi backwaters. The 100-passenger capacity air-conditioned vessel with upper and lower deck offer travellers to cruise along the backwaters, where KSINC proposed to introduce packages.

The ₹3.95 crore vessel was built at a yard in Sri Lanka and is among the few in Kochi whose safety and allied features are certified by the Indian Registry of Shipping. The boat has a diesel generator to provide backup. There is a conference hall cum DJ floor in the lower deck and a cafeteria cum dining area.

K.T. Chacko, chairman of KSINC told reporters that the vessel will have a six-hour day cruise package priced at ₹799 per person in which it will operate in the Marine Drive-Kadamakkudy corridor and later 10 km into the sea. In between, guests would be able to disembark on an island, have lunch and partake in activities like angling and boating.

In a seven-hour package of ₹999, they would also be able to check out the fish farm of Kerala Matsyafed at Njarakkal.

This is probably the first solar-powered tourist vessel in Kerala and the biggest of its kind in the State, he added.

The solar panels have the capacity to produce 27 kw of energy. The hybrid model boat has generators to operate the air conditioner and a passenger lift system to help differently abled and aged people to go to the upper deck.

R. Girija, managing director said that KSINC, is already conducting cruises in the backwaters with Nefertiti, Sagar Rani-1, and Sagar Rani-2 and soon Sooryamshu will be deployed in the tour packages.