Port Blair-bound vessel develops technical snag mid-sea

In all, 800 people of a passenger vessel had a harrowing experience after being stranded at sea for one-and-a-half days.

The ship, which developed a technical snag, was brought back to the port here on Thursday morning.

The vessel, bound for Port Blair, left the Visakhapatnam port with 800 passengers on board, on February 18. After covering 120 nautical miles in 24 hours, one of the engines developed a technical snag and the ship was stranded mid-sea. It was learnt that the ship captain sent an SOS to both Visakhapatnam and Port Blair.

Most of the passengers were labourers from Srikakulam, who were employed in Port Blair. Their relatives rushed to the port on Thursday morning on seeing the news on TV channels that the stranded ship would be brought back to the port.

On reaching the port, the passengers refused to disembark until they were refunded the ticket fare and an additional Rs.2,000 for the inconvenience suffered by them.

They entered into an argument with the staff of the shipping agency and the quarrel continued till late in the afternoon.

The passengers gave up their protest on the intervention of Minister for Infrastructure and Investment Ganta Srinivasa Rao. He told the passengers that another ship would be arranged on February 28 and they would be allowed to go on the same ticket, besides being paid an additional Rs.500.

Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha member T. Subbarami Reddy said in a statement that he would talk to Union Minister for Shipping G.K. Vasan to ensure that such incidents did not recur.

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