SWTD withdraws catamaran ferries for alterations

An eyesore: Even as the SWTD is suspending the operation of the newly launched catamaran ferries, older vessels abandoned by the agency are occupying considerable space at the Ernakulam boat jetty .  

The pair of catamaran ferries that the State Water Transport Department (SWTD) launched a week ago in the Ernakulam-Fort Kochi sector have been temporarily withdrawn from service to make a few modifications.

They include installation of fans, grab rails and modification of steps at their entry. The decision to install eight fans - four on each side - was taken since the ferries have sliding glass panes, as compared with shutters in the steel ferries that operate on the route. This was found to affect air circulation within the ferries. Many guests complained of this on the day of inauguration of the vessels. There are electric points along the perimeter of the vessels, from where power to propel the fans can be sourced, SWTD sources said.

Similarly, it was decided to install grab rails at entry points and within the vessels, considering that the catamaran ferries made of fibre-reinforced plastic are taller than their steel counterparts. All these modifications are being executed by the private firm which built the vessels. The two vessels will be ready to operate on Tuesday or Wednesday. Similar alterations will be made in five more catamaran vessels that the private firm will roll out at the rate of one every 45 days, they said. The SWTD’s fast ferry Vega-2 - which operates in Alappuzha, has eight fans in the passenger cabin.

The West Kochi Passengers’ Association said the withdrawal of the ferries for modifications was due to the SWTD’s apathy and slack supervision. The department must emphasise quality, safety and comfort of passengers, including at boat jetties. It must also restore early morning and late night trips in the sector, the association demanded.

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 11:25:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/swtd-withdraws-catamaran-ferries-for-alterations/article33951959.ece

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