Monday, March 5, 2012

EDITORIAL: MF Samsun: Enjoy it!



MF Samsun: Enjoy it!

MF Samsun is believed to be the good thing that has happened to the shipping sector after a long period. The jinxed sector had its share of pain in the form of MV Afra Bay, MV Karmatang, MV Chuglum and now MV Campbell Bay.
Chartered by the A&N Administration on wet lease from Turkey, for a period of 24 months, MF Samsun has all the modern passenger amenities and comfort and can travel at a speed of 16 knots. It can also transport 214 cars/28 trucks/500 T break bulk cargo.
The prompt induction of Samsun will naturally ease the connectivity and transportation concern of Southern Group.
The Lieutenant Governor had inducted the vessel on 21 Feb 2012, but made its maiden voyage on 4 March 2012 from Port Blair to Campbell Bay after completion of formalities relating to custom, immigration and flag staff inspection. Passengers onboard have exuded satisfaction with the facilities.
The service aspect of shipping sector in the Islands had hit rock bottom that the Islanders wholeheartedly welcomed any move that reduced their misery. Whether its privatization or wet lease, they don't care a bit. They just need uninterrupted and prompt service.
Many more vessels are on the offing, which will be chartered and put into service in harbour ferry, Inter Island and Foreshore sector. It would be preposterous to question the rationale behind the move as the Islanders have lost all hope they had on the Marine Dept, which has miserably failed to either run or maintain the vessels.
The way crew behaved with the passengers on MV Kalighat last week and a few days ago at Mayabunder is glaring examples of how serious they are in their profession. The way things are moving; in the near future department like DSS would totally stall recruitment process.
The sorry state of affairs at the dockyard shows our apathy. Proper dockyard facilities, trained manpower, adequate supply of spares and an effective management are essential to pull up the department from the bottomless pit. However, there is no light seen anywhere at the end of the tunnel.
With an estranged past, as far as service is concerned and a bleak future as far as employment opportunities are concerned, lets enjoy the new wave of luxurious ships owned and manned by phoren crew and relish their hospitality, which we have been missing for a long time. Let us forget for a while that ours is an Island territory, where we need to rely on some European or South-east Asian country to connect us with our scattered Islands. Let self-reliance for a while remain a delusion! Enjoy the ride!

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