With more vessels opting for outer anchorage crew change off the Vizhinjam coast, the port has emerged as a revenue source for the State government, notwithstanding the shortage of tug boats and infrastructure facilities.
Inaugurating the first anniversary of the crew change operations at the port here on Thursday, Minister for Ports Ahammad Devarkovil said 347 vessels including container ships, tanker vessels and gas tankers had used the facility for seafarers to sign off and take on replacements over the last one year, adding significantly to the State’s coffers. Ever Globe, a 2.19-lakh tonnage container ship, sailing under the flag of Panama from Egypt to Colombo, was the first to use the crew change facility on July 15, 2020.
Highlighting the need to improve the facilities at the port, the Minister said coastal freight transport was a cheaper alternative to movement of goods by road. Traders and business promoters would hence find it more attractive.
The Minister added that the proposed coastal highway linking all ports in the State would not only speed up cargo transport but also prove beneficial for the tourism sector. Several shipping companies had evinced interest in operating coastal services between the Kochi, Beypore and Azheekal ports.
The Minister feted shipping agents and officials who were involved in the crew change operations at Vizhinjam. As many as 2,737 crew members had signed off from anchored vessels and 2,807 seafarers had signed on using the crew change facility at Vizhinjam over the last one year. One vessel had undergone a management change and three ships were sanitized during the period.
Chairman of Kerala Maritime Board V.J.Mathew and member Manilal, Port Officer of Kollam, Hari Achutha Warrier and president of the Steamer Agent Association, Vizhinjam, N.B.Rajmohan were among those present at the function held to mark the occasion.
Source: The Hindu Business Line
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