K.S. Sudhi

KOCHI: With rampant removal of safety equipment from tourist boats after obtaining the mandatory licence, the Deputy Conservator of Ports has approached the police for proceeding against owners of such vessels.

The port authorities have been insisting on passenger safety and fire-fighting equipment such as lifebuoy and fire extinguisher on boats for permitting them to operate in the harbour area here. The Deputy Conservator wrote to the police authorities the other day on the issue in the wake of the Thattekad boat accident. Though it is the port authorities who issue the licence, they do not have much power to check the violations, says an official of the Marine Department of the port.

Punishment

Once any violation comes to notice, the maximum punishment that the port can award is detention of the boat for some time.

Only courts can impose punishment on owners of boats found violating the safety norms.

For that, the police have to move a case, says a port official.

More complaints

People have started raising the issue of boats violating safety norms with the port officials.

Complaints can be reported on ph: (0484) 266 6871 (extn: 2515/16/18).

The port officials have supplied copies of the directives that passengers need to follow while travelling on boats. Though the boat owners have been asked to display them prominently on the vessels, many are not complying with the order, officials allege.

The harbour police have started booking owners of vessels operating in the backwaters for flouting safety norms and overloading passengers.

Cases have been registered against a few vessels found operating in the harbour area with inebriated crew and without licence, said P.M. Baiju, sub-inspector, Harbour police station.

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