Port Blair, Jan 21: Islanders who have travelled to Nicobar Group of Islands in MV Coral Queen, during inclement weather, have surely got glimpses of hell in this Earth. Thankfully the good news is, MV Kalighat is almost ready at Cochin and as per sources within two weeks the ship will reach Andaman.
Presently only MV Coral Queen, MV Sentinel and MV Nancowry are only available for sailing to Nicobar District out of which only MV Sentinel is in a position to reach upto remote Chowra, Teressa and Katchal Islands.
“Final Survey of MV Kalighat is on and we are expecting the ship by this month end or by early next month,” said Captain P Govind Raju, the Mater Mariner of DSS, when Andaman Sheekha contacted him today.
Once MV Kalighat is pressed into service once again, it is believed that problems of people of Nicobar District will be resolved to a great extent. This is because MV Kalighat is better and faster than ship like MV Coral Queen and also can reach to remote Islands like Chowra, Teressa and Katchal.
Sources said that MV Kalighat which had problems in DG set is out of service since last nearly one year.
Due to Annual Passenger-ship Survey (APS), it is mostly seen that half of the ships of A & N Islands are out of service during any given time, causing great deal of inconvenience to the people of Nicobar District.
Islanders demand that the APS timing of the all the ships must be scheduled in such a way that atleast two or three bigger and better ships are available for Nicobar District all the time. At present due to lack of better ships MV Coral Queen is often sent to Car Nicobar and according to public during bad weather the ship gives horrible time to passengers.
Many believe that ships like MV Nancowry and MV Swaraj Dweep must be sent for Islands like Car Nicobar, Kamorta, Campbell Bay and ships like MV Sentinel, MV Chowra, MV Campbell Bay and MV Kalighat must be sent for all ports of Nicobar District, including remote Chowra, Teressa and Katchal Islands.
Ships like Coral Queen must be operated in Diglipur, Mayabunder and Hut Bay sectors only.
At present MV Swaraj Dweep, MV Chowra, MV Campbell Bay are in APS while MV Bharat Seema has been sent for repair.
When asked about the probable dates of return of these ships, Captain P Govind Raju, Master Mariner of DSS told Andaman Sheekha that only SCI, which is technical manager for these ships, will be able to tell about the dates because Survey, Certification and Repair is looked after by SCI.
“We are in constant touch with SCI regarding fitness of our ships,” he added.