It was quite shocking to read about the death of tourists in the tragic boat capsize in the Andaman Sea (“21 die as boat capsizes off Port Blair”, Jan. 27). This tragedy was a manmade one. It is learnt that there is no clarity on the basic safety measures to be followed on boat journeys in lakes that are 100 feet deep in places. Overloading, non-provision of safety jackets, boating in rough waters at unsafe hours, lack of proper diving guides and rescue personnel stem from a lack of conscientiousness. Any combination of these deficiencies could have resulted in the tragedy. There should be periodic inspection of boats for safety under the Bureau of Indian Standards. Disaster management systems must be put in place and safety norms taught to all concerned authorities.

A.J. Rangarajan, Chennai

When my family and I made a trip to the Andaman Islands during the recnt Pongal, we travelled by tourist boat to Ross Island and North Bay. I concur with the view that the authorities in Port Blair seem to evince poor regard for diligence. Big wooden private boats, operated by under-trained youngsters, pick up passengers at the boat jetty near the Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports complex. These boats are unstable, rocked violently by the breeze even as passengers are asked to jump across the precarious gap between jetty and boat. Life vests were stocked away on racks but never given to passengers to put on. Under such circumstances, the January 26 incident was waiting to happen.

B. Ramadoss, Chennai

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