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Kochi marina set to start operations

George Joseph  |  Chennai/ Kochi 

AK Antony to launch the project on April 24.

Kochi International Marina, the first-of-its-kind in India, will kick start operations on April 24, putting the city on the global map of sea-based adventure tourism.

AK Antony will officially launch the marina at a function on Bolghatty Island, adjacent to the city.

The marina can berth 34 yachts at a time. This would be enhanced to 50 later, according to Cherian Philip, chairman, Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC), promoters of the project.

Construction of a three-storey building on the north-eastern side of the Bolghatty Palace hotel to accommodate sailors from across the world is complete. KTDC had spent Rs 8.21 crore on Phase -1 of the project with a central assistance of Rs 4 crore. A two-lane road connecting the main land with the island is also ready.

According to Cherian, Kochi would be an ideal berthing spot for yachts from the West, crossing Suez Canal and travelling towards the north eastern parts of Asia.

Currently, there are no intermediate berthing facilities for yachts leaving Dubai until they reach their destinations in the Far East. Situated just 11 nautical miles from the international maritime route, Kochi has one of the best natural ports in Asia where Dubai Ports World is building an international container transshipment terminal.

The Cochin Port Trust is also building a cruise terminal on the nearby Willington Island. Since Kochi is the nearest port on the international maritime route between the west and the east more adventurous seafarers prefer this port, he added.

The marina will have facilities to repair yachts and for filling fuel and food items. Facilities like golf course, swimming pool, spa, health club, restaurant and beer parlour will also be provided for the sailors.

Floating docks built on concrete beams is the major attraction of the project. A board walk - wooden structure protruding into the back waters in order to facilitate other tourists to see the yachts has also been arranged.

Sharjah’s Hamriyah Free Zone-based Gulf Marinas has constructed the marina, under the supervision of the Kerala Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation. The project would be managed by global firm Oceanic Blue on a three-year contract basis.

The marina house, which has 24 deluxe rooms including 4 suite rooms, a recreation centre and cafeteria, will be managed by Tourists Resorts Kerala Limited, a subsidiary of KTDC.

Cherian said 16 docks would be added in the next phase and additional facilities would be provided on 2 acres of reclaimed land adjacent to the island.

During the last one decade, Kochi had become a major destination for sea-based adventure tourism. On an average 100 yachts visit Kochi every year of which majority is from European countries such as the United Kingdom, Finland and Norway apart from New Zealand and Australia.

First Published: Mon, April 19 2010. 00:10 IST