15 July 2012

No takers to scrap MV Tipu Sultan:

KOCHI: No one has responded so far to the tender invited by Lakshadweep administration for dismantling its iconic passenger ship MV Tipu Sultan.

The ship which has been berthed at the Cochin Port for more than two years is reportedly leading to an expenditure of about Rs 30 lakh per month to the administration, in terms of berthing charges, wages of employees, fuel cost and other items.

The decision to scrap the passenger ship, which is now about 30 years old, was taken after the Marine Mercantile Department (MMD) declined sea-worthiness certificate. The Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) also had recommended scrapping the vessel, after it was found that its repair could incur huge amounts. The government evaluator had fixed the minimum value of the ship at Rs 4.6 crore and it is the third time that the auction notice has failed to evoke any response.

"We will now re-auction it at the same rate. We cannot reduce its value which has been fixed by the government evaluator. We may be losing money in terms of berthing charges and other items. But if we reduce the value below what has been fixed by the official evaluator we could be accused of corruption,'' collector of Lakshadweep Vasanthakumar told TOI here.

Tenders for scrapping the vessel which was being manned and managed by the SCI were floated earlier in 2010 and 2011. The all-weather ship which had a carrying capacity of 648 passengers had been in operation since 1988, ferrying passengers between the islands and Kochi. The vessel which was built in 1982 had undergone several repairs and a refit.

Source: Times of India. 21 June 2012

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