Vessel carrying 36 tourists goes back to Goa
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Inclement weather and rough sea prevented foreign tourists aboard M.S. Ocean Odyssey, a luxury cruise liner which reached at Vizhinjam, near here, on Tuesday from disembarking to visit the beach resort and tourist attractions of the capital.
The four-star vessel carrying 36 tourists, as against its capacity of 290 passengers, and a crew of 110, arrived off Vizhinjam harbour around 1 p.m. The rough sea delayed the arrival from Colombo by six hours and got anchored over five nautical miles off Vizhinjam.
A three-member team led by Chief Engineer Joseph, a native of Tuticorn in Tamil Nadu, Harby and Jimmy came in an inflated boat ‘Zodiac’ to take the customs, immigration and port authorities to the vessel for the mandatory clearance.
The customs authorities who accompanied Harby and Jimmy in the inflated boat to inspect the vessel returned back soon as the rough sea prevented them from reaching the vessel.
Incidentally, a vessel belonging to the police carrying presspersons was able to proceed near the vessel braving the rough sea. After the port authorities held discussions with Captain Jimmy Press, it was decided to abandon the mandatory inspection by the customs and emigration personnel. The passengers onboard the vessel were also not interested in disembarking. Finally, the team led by Mr. Joseph returned to the vessel around 1.50 p.m.
The 105.6-metre-long vessel boasts of standard and deluxe cabins, a swimming pool, two Jacuzzis, a dance floor, a spa and a beauty salon, a bar, a library with 200 books and a fitness centre.
Ravi Nair of J.M. Baxi and Company, agents of M.S. Ocean Odyssey, said the ship cancelled its trip to Cheriam islands in Lakshwadeeep and is voyaging back to Goa due to the inclement weather. The vessel will visit Vizhinjam on Tuesday every fortnight.
Meanwhile, the arrival of the cruise liner put the port, customs and immigration authorities on tenterhooks for over six hours. Chairman of Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) Cherian Philip came to the harbour representing the government to welcome the tourists.
The locals, who assembled in large numbers to welcome the ship that had arrived to herald another peak tourist season in the State, were also disappointed as the tourists could not disembark.