Nearly 100 passengers had a miraculous escape as their boat got caught in the waves generated by the propellers of a cruise ship and rammed the aircraft carrier INS Viraat in the shipping channel near the Cochin Port’s Q berth around 4.10 p.m. on Sunday.

Nearly 100 passengers had a miraculous escape as their boat got caught in the waves generated by the propellers of a cruise ship and rammed the aircraft carrier INS Viraat in the shipping channel near the Cochin Port’s Q berth around 4.10 p.m. on Sunday.

The roof of the State Water Transport Department boat was damaged in the collision with the naval ship, which had arrived here for maintenance.

A few passengers reportedly blamed the boat’s crew for not steering clear of the massive cruise ship Celebrity Solstice and staged a protest on the boat jetty.

But Joseph Xavier, Traffic Superintendent, Ernakulam, of the department, said: “On seeing the cruise ship leaving its berth at the port, our boat plying from Ernakulam to Vypeen stopped midway and remained floating around 200 metres from the ship. Unlike most other ships which are towed out of the berth, the ship can be steered using its propellers. This caused a whirlpool in the vicinity and the boat’s ‘srank’ lost control.” Both ships and passenger boats use the channel and the port generally informs the department of the movement of such big ships. This was not done on Sunday. Neither did the ship sound its siren, Mr. Xavier said.

Padmanabha Mallya, secretary of the West Kochi Passengers’ Association, complained that the crew of tugs and ships were often careless in navigation within the port premises.

More In: Kochi