KOCHI: Two of the five boats delivered by the Steel Industries Limited-Kerala (SILK) to the State Water Transport Department (SWTD) would join the departments passenger-ferry fleet in Kochi by month end.
The new vessels are expected to reduce the travelling woes of boat commuters who are at present encountering much hardship because the SWTD has withdrawn over half-a-dozen wooden, steel and fibre boats from service in the West Kochi and Vypeen routes. While many of them were withdrawn from service for repair works, a few fibre boats have been keeping off service as part of safety measures during the monsoon.
The five new steel vessels would undergo stability and other safety tests specified in the Kerala Inland Vessel Rules - 2010, once they arrive here from Kannur. The former head of Cusats Ship Technology Department, S. K. Pyarilal, who was also a member of the B. R. Menon Committee on Boat Safety said that though the new boats have a passenger capacity of 100, they can carry up to 215 people.