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News  


 

Colombo-Tuticorin passenger service

Shipping Corp. still looking for a ship

By S. Selvakumar
The Ceylon Shipping Corporation (CSC) is yet to charter a passenger vessel to be deployed on its Colombo-Tuticorin service that was started early this month.
At present the India-owned Scotia Prince operates between Colombo and Tuticorin and according to CSC sources the number of passengers using this service keeps increasing although it is still not sailing with full capacity.
A spokesman said a few semi-luxury vessels have been inspected in Dubai and Italy by CSC officials but formalities still remain to be finalised before a vessel is chartered. It is hoped to charter a vessel with a capacity of 800 passengers. Scotia Prince has a capacity of 1,200 passengers in ordinary, semi luxury and luxury cabins.
He said the SLPA hoped to start package tours and their agents throughout the country have already started work on this. “Our main package would be to Buddhagaya that include all charges from Colombo to Buddhagaya through Tuticorin and from there by rail and road transport inclusive of meals and lodging facilities,” he said.
Since thousands of Buddhist pilgrims visit Buddhagaya each month and the potential in these package tours would be lucrative, sources pointed out. However, this package could be included only after Sri Lanka charters a vessel.
Once the Buddhagaya package becomes successful agents would be encouraged to woo Hindu and Christian pilgrims which would have a higher potential since there were hundreds of places of worship in India for Hindus and Christians, sources said.
The Sri Lanka Ports Authority has appointed agents in each district in the country who are at present engaged only in selling tickets to travellers to Tuticorin and back only, which cost US$ 98 both ways.