A new international ferry service, between Tamil Nadu's Nagapattinam and Sri Lanka's Kankesanturai is operational from today. It was virtually flagged off by Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and PM Modi also addressed the event. The vessel, operated by the Shipping Corporation of India, is named Cheriyapani and about 50 passengers were part of its maiden ride on Saturday.
How to book
The booking facility will be available online from January 2024. Till then, the interested parties can call the number +919789879971 and book the slots, 24 hours in advance. The passengers will also have to send their passport copy and visa details over WhatsApp to the same number.
Fare, timings and safety features
The round trip cost of the service is Rs 13,000 plus tax. If a passenger is looking for a one-way ferry ride, they can book the tickets for Rs 6500 plus tax. The daily service from Nagapattinam is at 7 am and it reaches Kankesanturai by 11 am. The return service from Kankesanturai is at 2 pm, and it reaches Nagapattinam by 5 pm. Each passenger is allowed to carry around 50 kg of luggage. According to PTI, the ferry would cover a distance of about 60 nm (110 Km) between Nagapattinam and Kankesanthurai in about 3.5 hours depending on the sea conditions. The twin hulk catamaran style ferry is also equipped with all safety facilities approved by the government of India.
The revival of the service
The venture marks the revival of passenger ferry services between India and Sri Lanka, a service that was discontinued in the 1980s. As per reports, the last ferry, The Indo-Ceylon Express, operated until 1982 when it was stopped owing to the Sri Lankan civil war.