The season’s first luxury liner dropped anchor at Vizhinjam on Tuesday morning, but by and large, tourist vessels appear to be giving the ancient port of the Ay kings a wide berth this year.
Clipper Odyssey off-loaded tourists here during a brief stop-over on its way from Kochi to Colombo. ‘’The small ship had 57 passengers and 71 crew. It left the port by 2 pm,’’ Vizhinjam port bursar Martin Jeaks said.
No other vessel has confirmed stop-overs at Vizhinjam this tourism season, unlike last year, when four vessels called. The Clipper Odyssey is likely to call at Vizhinjam on December 13 and another vessel in January, though this visit has not been confirmed yet.
Unlike Kochi, Vizhinjam, with its two small wharves, rarely attracts big tourist liners since they have to moor far out and off-load passengers into small boats. The Ports Department has plans to expand the wharves at Vizhinjam, but work is yet to take off.
The older of the two wharves is merely 10 metres long and the second one, 90 metres. The plan is to extend them by 25 and 100 metres respectively.
The old wharf has a depth of 4.5 metres and the new one, 6.5 metres. There are also plans to extend the old wharf by ten metres to the front.