KOCHI:The Cochin Port Trust (CPT) has ordered an inquiry into the boat accident at Fort Kochi on Wednesday. CPT deputy conservator Gouri Prasad Biswal will be in charge of the investigation, and a report will be submitted in two weeks. The investigation will be centred on precautionary measures to prevent such mishaps in the future.
Though the accident did not occur in the shipping channel, the CPT chose to order an inquiry considering the fact that the tragedy occurred near the channel and the boat - M B Bharath- was licensed by the Cochin Port.
“The inquiry will be completed within two weeks, following which we will take measures to enhance safety of passenger boats moving through the channel. The Port Trust monitors traffic of passenger boats plying through the channel. We give licence to passenger boats registered as per the Kerala Inland Vessel Act,” said a Port official.
Unlicensed Boats Remain a Threat
Prima facie, negligence from the part of the fishing boat is pointed out to be the cause of the tragedy. According to experts, many fishing boats operating in the State do not have proper registration and licence.
Though the Kerala Marine Fishing Regulation Act mandates registration and licensing for fishing boats, the reality is entirely different. There are around 3,700 mechanised fishing boats and around 29,000 motorised fishing boats operating in Kerala.
“The Kochi backwaters is busy with ships, fishing vessels, passenger boats and yachts. A major concern is fishing boats, as they often operate without licence. If recommendations of the Narayana Kurup Commission, which inquired the Kumarakom boat tragedy, were implemented properly, the Fort Kochi tragedy could have been avoided,” said Shipping Ministry former secretary K Mohandas.