Staff Reporter

Pilots will travel in the launch to reach a ship calling on the port just outside the port limits

Tuticorin: The Tuticorin Port Trust has added a `VIP-cum-pilot' launch, `M.L. Tuticorin,' to its existing floating craft fleet.

At a function held near the Finger Jetty inside the port recently, N.K. Raghupathy, chairman, TPT, received the launch from Rajkumar Pillai, Senior General Manager, Goodwill Engineering, Pondicherry, the company, which had manufactured it.

The TPT sources told mediaperons that the launch, built at a cost of Rs 2.29 crores, would be primarily used by port pilots for boarding and disembarking from the vessels visiting the port during their inward and outward movements.

"The pilots would travel in the launch to reach the ship calling on the port just outside the port limits, before boarding into it and guide the vessel to berth at the harbour," sources added.

Similarly, the pilots could return in the launch after guiding the vessels, which leave the port borders in its return journey from the berths.

The launch would also be used to take the VIPs around the harbour area, who pay a visit to the port either for inspection or sightseeing.

On technical specifications of the launch, sources said it had a length of 20 metres, breadth of 6.7 metres and draft of 2 metres.

The launch uses steerable rudder schottel propulsion system and can attain a maximum speed of 12.4 knots.