KOCHI: The delay in fishing out the sunken vessel from the shipping channel is set to cost the Cochin Port dear. As yet, efforts to salvage the fishing boat have been unsuccessful. If the process is delayed, the port’s business will take a hit as the movement of ships to and from the port stands to be affected.The fishing boat, ‘Neethiman’, sank in the channel on Monday morning while being towed to the harbour by another boat deployed by the Marine Enforcement in response to a distress call from the crew of ‘Neethiman’.
The vessel had developed cracks about five nautical miles off Kochi. Experts say the damaged boat, about to sink any time, should not have been taken to the busy channel. The sunken boat is now occupying one-third of the channel space where it sank. If the situation continues, it is going to affect operations at the port, with the Cochin Port having confirmed the arrival of big ships in the coming days.
Meanwhile, the Cochin Port Trust (CPT) has started searching for an agency which can successfully lift the boat from the channel. Soon after the sinking, the Department of Fisheries had informed CPT that they would remove the vessel from the channel. But after a day-long futile attempt, the Department of Fisheries said they were unable to do so and asked the port to carry out the task.‘’We haven’t been able to identify any local group that can take up the work,” CPT authorities said.
“Hopefully, we can identify an agency by Friday. If the boat remains in the channel, it will affect the traffic to the port. The priority is to make the channel navigable at the earliest.’’
NOT A GOOD OMEN
If the salvaging of the sunken boat is delayed, the port is likely to face a huge loss of business. Since the boat occupies one-third of the location where it sank, big ships - mainly those requiring a 10-metre depth - will not be able to enter the port. The maintained depth of the channel is 14 metres. Even if the ship somehow enters, it will not be able to carry cargo to its capacity. There can be even a situation where exporters are unable to send their cargo on time. The sunken boat will also block the way of Naval and Coast Guard ships.