India's first international passenger ferry service launched from Tuticorin to Colombo
New Delhi, June 13, 2011
India's first international passenger ferry service, offering a world class cruising experience, set sail from the V O Chidambaranar (VOC) Port in Tuticorin Tamil Nadu to Colombo in Sri Lanka today.
Union Minister of Shipping G K Vasan embarked the ship, M V Scotia Prince, and wished the crew and passengers before flagging it off.
Mr Vasan said it was a historic event for Indian shipping, particularly for VOC Port and Tamil Nadu since it marked the revival, after so many decades, of the service started by V O Chidambaranar way back in 1907.
He said the service was the fulfilment of of a long-pending public demand and would benefit people of both countries, especially the Tamil population, and give a boost to cultural ties, tourism and trade.
Mr Vasan said the service would help in transforming VOC Port and Tuticorin into a hub for passenger ferry services and cruise shipping. He said the Government was also working on resuming the Rameswaram-Talaimanar ferry service, which was discontinued in the late 1980s.
Mr A Subbiah, Chairman of the Tuticorin Port Trust, and Mr P A Ponnappa, General Manager of Flemingo Liners, were also present on the occasion.
Fleming has chartered Scotia Prince to run this service. It has earlier sailed between Portland and Yarmouth in 2004.
A consortium of Flemingo Duty Free Shop Pvt Ltd and Tradex Shipping Co Pvt Ltd, obtained the license for operating the ferry service between India and Colombo for seven + three years.
The 9-deck spacious houses 317 cabins that can accommodate 1044 passengers and has facilities such as lounge, restaurants, disco and an infirmary. Features such as a casino and drive-in, drive-out facility for cars and cargo vehicles and a duty free would be launched soon.
The ship will have more than 40 staff members on board to attend to the needs of passengers and about 25 ground staff to help with check-in procedures, immigration, customs procedures and baggage clearance.
A press release from the company said the ship can carry around 300 tonnes of cargo.
The 317 cabins include 111 economy rooms, 2 special cabins for the physically challenged, 22 deluxe cabins with toilet, 169 deluxe cabins with shower and toilet, 11 first class and two suites.
The basic economy room comes at an early bird offer of $49 (exclusive of taxes) and $65 (exclusive of taxes) during regular periods. The package includes complimentary dinner.
Scotia Prince will also have live performances by top notch bands and entertainers, in order to let the guests on board have a varied experience during the journey.
The release said Flemingo would be looking at attracting orders for chartered trips from communities that thrive on trade and business. They will also be looking at attracting corporate groups for conducting team outings on the ship.