The state owned Cochin shipyard has delivered the second
passenger vessel Nalanda which will be deployed in Chennai/Kolkata to Port
Blair sailing route. The vessel has been handed over to the Andaman
administration which is running the shipping service between mainland ports to
Andaman Nicobar archipelago.
The service is
strategic and crucial since the entire
essential requirements of the Andaman islands are provided from Chennai and
Kolkata Ports. A three day sailing from Chennai to Port Blair got extended by a
day due to the poor running conditions of the ships deployed in this route.
Several representations were given by the islanders to
replace the obsolete ships but a decision was taken recently to replace the
aging ships and orders were placed with the Cochin shipyard. Nalanda is capable of carrying 150 tons of cargo along
with the passengers
Manned by a 60-member crew, the vessel is provided with
deluxe cabins, first-class cabins, second-class cabins, bunk class and eating
class that can accommodate a total of 500 passengers. The vessel is equipped
with a modern cafeteria, recreation rooms, gymnasium and library besides
other modern amenities meant for passengers and tourists.
The ship Nalanda can sail at a speed of 16knots and can
reach Port Blair from Chennai within 72 hours.
The shipping service between Chennai and Port Blair is
once a fortnight. A similar service is operated from Kolkata.