Providential escape for passengers as boat rams into INS Viraat
By Express News Service - KOCHI
19th November 2012 09:32 AM
A major tragedy was averted when a passenger boat from Fort Kochi, carrying around 160 people, rammed into INS Viraat anchored in the coastal waters, here on Sunday evening.
According to the passengers who were aboard the boat of the Kerala State Water Transport Department (KSWTD), the accident occurred when the crew members lost control of the boat.
“The German cruise ship ‘Celebrity Solstice’ which was stationed at the area was about to start its journey. The waves that erupted when the propellers were set in motion caused the boat to sway, leading to the accident,” a passenger said.
The police officials said that, the passenger boat was caught between INS Viraat and the cruise ship, which was a potentially dangerous situation. The incident took place around 3.15 pm.
The passengers alleged that the accident occured owing to the carelessness of the boat’s crew members.
“The presence of the ship had been reported to the crew. Though the fishermen also sounded an alarm, the crew members failed to pay heed. This is utter negligence on their part,” said Nison, a passenger. He added that the boat was already carrying more passengers than the permissible capacity of 100.
Meanwhile, the passengers have raised complaints that there were no life jackets available on the boat.
“We started panicking when the boat hit INS Viraat. Shockingly, there were only 10 life jackets available for nearly 160 people,” said Karin Sabir, a native of Kozhikode.
Refuting the passengers’ charge, KSWTD Superintendent Joseph Xavier said that sufficient number of life jackets were available on the boat.
“We also had spare life jackets,” he told ‘Express’. Strict action will be taken against the driver of the boat if the alleged negligence is found to be true, he said. “An initial inquiry has been completed. We have been informed that the driver was unaware of the presence of the cruise ship in the area.
The driver has alleged that the cruise ship failed to sound a siren prior to starting its journey,” he said. Most of the passengers aboard the A89 circular boat which was bound for Ernakulam boat jetty were not from the district. No casualties have been reported in the incident.
Two passengers have lodged a complaint regarding the matter with the Central Police station.
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