THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Ending the long wait of coastal community, ‘Pratheeksha’, the first marine ambulance will be commissioned on Thursday. The marine ambulance built by the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) will be deployed at Vizhinjam, here. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate the function.The ambulance built at a cost of `6.08 crore would help in saving the lives of fishermen during accidents at sea. According to the fisheries department, around 30 fishermen lose life due to various accidents in sea annually.
Fitted with medical equipment the ambulance can provide critical care to five persons at a time and bed for 10 others. It contains paramedical staff, trained sea rescue squad, portable mortuary and medicines. The vessel is of 23 metres in length, 5.5 metres in width and 3 metres in dept. It uses two 700 HP Scania engines and can achieve a maximum speed of 14 nautical miles per hour. The boat was designed by the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology as per the specifications of Indian Registry of Shipping.
Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation provided the crew and safety squad consists of trained fishermen. The marine ambulance project involves the construction of three vessels. The float-out ceremony of two other boats - ‘Prathyasha’ and ‘Karunya’ will be held on Thursday. The boats will be commissioned without delay, said fisheries minister, J Mercykutty Amma.The marine ambulance project received an impetus after several lives were lost to cyclone Ockhi in 2017. Apart from government funding, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited contributed H 6 crore and CSL H 2.8 crore.