Kochi

Smaller vessels for return trip leave Lakshadweep islanders a worried lot

There seems to be little respite in sight for over 1,000 people from Lakshadweep islands who were stranded here following the cancellation of trips by m.v. Kavaratti, a passenger vessel that caught fire on Wednesday, even as a pair of smaller vessels have been arranged to ferry them to the isles on Tuesday.

Several islanders may still be berthed here for want of a big vessel like m.v. Kavaratti while those who will be able to commute in the the smaller vessels, each of which has capacity for 150 passengers, will have to endure a gruelling ride lasting about 12 hours since they do not have berths to sleep. That the vessels are much smaller, and hence vulnerable to “rolling and pitching” while on the seas, is worrying the islanders.

“Passengers tend to develop motion sickness and throw up when commuting by such small vessels which do not have berths,” said Ashraf C.P., a resident of Kavaratti, who arrived in Kochi with seven others.

“It is sad that the Lakshadweep Administration has not made alternative arrangements to ferry the 1,000-odd people stranded here. The next big vessel is expected only on December 11. It would have been ideal if a ship to Kalpeni and high-speed 150-seater vessels to reach other islands had been arranged. Officials in charge of the vessels do not seem to understand our plight, especially so since we have to pay for accommodation at hotels in Kochi,” he added.

Official sources said they were still waiting for “recovery assistance” in order to tow m.v. Kavaratti to Kochi, where it would undergo repair of equipments damaged by the fire. A tug available in Kochi ought to be readied since a tug based in the isles was not powerful enough to tow the vessel to Kochi, they said.


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Printable version | Jan 29, 2022 7:51:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/smaller-vessels-for-return-trip-leave-lakshadweep-islanders-a-worried-lot/article37875485.ece

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