Tanur boat tragedy: Chief Surveyor ‘ignored’ illegal structural changes in ‘Atlantic’

Atlantic boat
A 15-seater fishing boat was turned into a tourist boat at an unaccredited yard in Ponnani. Photo: Manorama

Ponnani: More shocking details have emerged about the recent Tanur boat tragedy in which 22 people lost their lives. A ladder going up to the upper deck was found fitted on the craft, named ‘Atlantic’, during fitness test though it was not mentioned in the design blueprint submitted earlier.

It has come to light that the Chief Surveyor, who is based in Alappuzha, “ignored” this illegal structural change on the vessel. This glaring violation was finally revealed during the stability test and examination of the design held under the direction of the police after the mishap.

Tanur Deputy Superintendent of Police V V Benny, who heads the investigation team, twice questioned the Alappuzha Chief Surveyor in this connection. He will be summoned again for further interrogation, sources said.

The double-decker vessel which capsized in the Poorappuzha estuary on May 7 was originally a fishing boat. It was later modified by its new owner for using it for tourism purposes. The ladder to the upper deck was laid when the overhaul of the boat was completed. Neither did the Chief Surveyor objected to this nor did he report the violation anywhere.

Malayala Manorama is in possession of a picture that reveals the ladder was constructed in ‘Atlantic’ well before the fitness examination carried over by the Chief Surveyor.

One of the chief reasons cited by experts for its capsizing was overloading. The operators could pack the boat with more riders than the allowed capacity by directing some among to the upper deck through the ladder.  

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