KOCHI: MV Corals, the new addition to the existing fleet of passenger ships plying between Lakshadweep and Kochi, docked at the Ernakulam wharf on Thursday.
The new vassal, which is expected to facilitate better connectivity between Kochi and Lakshadweep, is the seventh ship launched to serve both the islanders and the tourists. If everything goes well, the ship will start operation by the middle of November. MV Corals is a passenger ship with capacity of 400, built at the Colombo Dockyard in Sri Lanka by Norway-based Global Maritime Brevik AS. MV Lagoons, another ship of the same class manufactured by the same company, will be delivered to the Lakshadweep administration by the end of 2014. MV Corals was handed over to the Lakshadweep administration on October 28. Though there were plans to start operation prior to the Lok Sabha election, the launch was postponed owing to delay in the completion of the work. Currently, there are six ships operating between Kochi and Lakshadweep. MV Lakshadweep Sea and MV Kavaratti, introduced in 2011, were also constructed at the Colombo Dockyard.
The total contract value of MV Corals is `179.74 crore. Officials are hopeful that once the vessel starts sailing, it would ease passenger rush.
Deputy Director of Ports, Shipping and Navigation Muthu Kunji was not available for comment.