French nationals fascinated by cargo vessel-making, visit Thoothukudi

The foreign delegates, who recently paid a visit to Thoothukudi old Port, where the sail vessels were berthed, was primarily intended to discuss possibilities to outweigh the rising fuel cost on merchant vessels operated in France.
French delegates take stock of coastal sail vessel operations at Thoothukudi old port
French delegates take stock of coastal sail vessel operations at Thoothukudi old port

MADURAI: A team of French nationals have developed a fascination for the coastal sailing craft, a traditional cargo vessel industry, after having made forays into studying the industry, which operates off Thoothukudi coast to various maritime trading ports.

The foreign delegates, who recently paid a visit to Thoothukudi old Port, where the sail vessels were berthed, was primarily intended to discuss possibilities to outweigh the rising fuel cost on merchant vessels operated in France.

The sailing vessel, which’s otherwise known as ‘Thoni’ a large wooden vessel is the cheapest and the most economical mode of cargo shipment at sea. The delegates wished to make an investment to construct large sailing vessels each with a capacity to haul 1,500 tonnes of cargo.

Unlike merchant vessels, the strength of support crew is limited in the sail vessel industry and salaries are not as high.

The delegates during their schedule got access to the vessel repair yard and gathered vital information about procedures of constructing vessels and its cost, S Princeton Fernando, president, Tuticorin Coastal Mechanized Sail Vessel Owners Association, told DT Next on Saturday.

This traditional industry, which laid the foundation of its rich maritime history, is in operation only in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu in India. As for Tamil Nadu, the industry remains in existence in coastal towns of Thoothukudi in the south and Cuddalore in the north.

During the interaction, the delegates were curious and keen about how the maritime trade was doing, types of timber required for constructing the vessel and more importantly the support from the government to help nurture the industry.

However, the only problem is the non availability of satellite phones for crews on board. Fernando added that satellite phones are crucially important for crew members as their lives could be saved in distress at sea.

According to Lassington Fernando, secretary of the association, a four member delegation from Thoothukudi is scheduled to meet bilateral discussions with their counterparts in the Maldives on November 20 to explore possibilities of strengthening business ties.

Visit news.dtnext.in to explore our interactive epaper!

Download the DT Next app for more exciting features!

Click here for iOS

Click here for Android

Related Stories

No stories found.
DT next
www.dtnext.in