By Aditya Anand, Mumbai Mirror | Jul 18, 2013
22 yrs after it was discontinued, plans are afoot to relaunch the service in 3 mths.
Twenty-two years after its last voyage the Mumbai-Goa steamer service will set sail once again, with Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and his Maharashtra counterpart Prthviraj Chauhan keen on relaunching the service.
A proposal to restart the service was made by the Goa Government in the last week of May, and was promptly seconded by the Maharashtra Government. “It has been cleared and the service will be launched in the next three months,” Captain of Ports, Goa, James Braganza told Mirror.
In a presentation on the service to the state government, Braganza said, “The service will be purely an alternative mode of transport between Mumbai and Goa, minus any frills, but comfortable.”
As earlier, the service is expected to operate between Ferry Wharf (Bhaucha Dhakka) in Mazagaon and Panaji port. En route it will halt at Raigad, Malvan, Ratnagiri and Vengurla, where smaller boats will ferry passengers to the shore.
According to Braganza, there is much scope for a daily steamer service on the route, as trains invariably run full and buses are not preferred by many.
In the past, a few operators like Damania did launch catamaran services, but they never really took off. “It has never been a pleasant experience for passengers due to the heavy rolling and pitching effects of the sea,” Braganza explained.
“A private catamaran service run by Blue Ocean Cruises currently does operate on the route. But it is targeted at tourists and charges Rs 13,000 per head,” Braganza said. “The steamer service will cater to regular commuters and tickets will be on par with the railways.”
The Goa Government has invited an expression of interest from reputed shipping companies and operators to re-commence the service, and a technical committee has been formed to decide on the type of ship and other technicalities, an official at the state secretariat said.
After the service’s last voyage in 1991, Konkan Shakti and Konkan Sevak, the two vessels operated on the route, were sent to ferry the armed forces to Sri Lanka at the behest of the late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Note: The above article first appeared on http://www.mumbaimirror.com and same was reproduced with additional info and photographs from various sources. We tried our best to give due credits to all our sources.