John Wilbert & Vikramaditya
Bambooflat, May 11: In anticipation of strong winds and rough seas that have persisted since yesterday, shipping services have taken the precautionary measure of suspending vehicle ferry services between Bambooflat and Chatham. The decision was made to ensure the safety of commuters and personnel amidst the challenging weather conditions but the sudden decision has left many passengers stranded on both sides. The weather condition was so bad today that one vehicle ferry, MV Pillopanja, which operated in the morning found it too difficult even to berth at Bambooflat. MV Pillopanja full with passengers hand almost drifted but later the vessel was pulled back by other ferry vessels.
This unexpected disruption left many commuters disappointed, leading to chaos and confusion at the Bambooflat Jetty. While passenger ferries were still operational, the cancellation of the MV Philobhabhi and MV Philopanja vehicle ferry services caused frustration among a large number of passengers who were awaiting transportation during office hours.
The lack of prior intimation regarding the cancellation further aggravated the situation, prompting irate passengers to protest against the sudden suspension.
Miss. V.K. Mariyam Bibi, member of the Bambooflat Zilla Parishad, expressed her concern over the situation, noting that only two passenger ferries, the MV Sher Ali and MV Hornbill, were providing services while the vehicle ferry operations remained suspended. She revealed that the local residents had made a request to the Deputy Director of Shipping Services to resume vehicle ferry services, resulting in an attempt to initiate operations this morning around 08:00 AM. However, due to heavy winds, the vessel lost control while berthing at the Bambooflat jetty, causing the vessel’s engine’s remote wire to snap.
Miss V. K. Mariyam Bibi emphasized the need for alternative transportation options during periods when ferry services are unable to accommodate the high demand of passengers. She called upon the Transport Department to increase the frequency of STS Bus services from Bambooflat to Aberdeen Bazar and vice versa during such situations.
When contacted by Andaman Sheekha Daily, a senior officer from the Shipping Services acknowledged the concerns regarding the prevailing high winds and large swells on the sea. He said that the safety of passengers and staff remains their top priority, and the decision to suspend vehicle services was made in consideration of their well-being. He said that the services will resume as soon as weather conditions are deemed supportive and safe for operations.