Mumbai-Goa cruise ferry service to launch by February end

Mumbai-Goa cruise ferry service to launch by February end
The Mumbai-Goa cruise service will be launched by the end of February (Representational Image. Courtesy: India Today)

After a two month delay, the highly anticipated Mumbai-Goa cruise ferry service is finally set to launch by the end of February this year.

Union Minister for Shipping Nitin Gadkari had announced the ferry service between Mumbai and Goa under the Sagar Mala project in November last year. At the time, the service was scheduled to start before the end of 2017.

However, the launch was postponed to mid-January as the trial runs for the ferry-service were not complete. The lack of dry docking permission at Mumbai and modification of safety apparatus further added to the delay.

The launch has been pushed back once again due to lack of clearances, reported Times of India.

According to the daily, Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) chairman I Jeyakumar attributed the delay to the lack of clearances from the Directorate General of Shipping and Indian Register of Shipping (IRS).

MPT officials estimate that the permissions will be in place within a month’s time, following which the service will be opened for tourists.

Earlier this month, Sanjay Bhatia, the chairman of Mumbai Port Trust (MbPt) confirmed that the cruise ferry had already reached India and was anchored at the domestic cruise terminal, which is close to the ferry wharf at Mazgaon.

Once launched, the cruise will operate from the domestic cruise terminal at Mazgaon and ferry around 400 passengers in a single trip, covering the distance between Mumbai and Goa in seven hours.

The cruise will cease operations for about four months during the monsoon season. The fare for the service is likely to be announced closer to launch.

Meanwhile, a cruise ferry service between Mumbai and Kochi was launched last year. More such services are likely to be launched in the coming years as the port’s development, which will take its capacity from 80 to 700 ships, is complete.

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