‘Pratheeksha’, the first fully equipped marine ambulance of the Fisheries Department is ready for rescue operations at sea.
Built by Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL), the vessel—the first of three ordered by the State—will be commissioned on Thursday and stationed at Vizhinjam. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate ‘Pratheeksha’ via videoconference.
Fisheries Minister J. Mercykutty Amma will preside over the function. The marine ambulance is equipped to provide medical care to 10 persons at a time. It will have paramedical staff as part of its crew and will be assisted by four sea rescue squads.
The marine ambulance also had modern life-saving equipment, medicine stocks, and a portable mortuary, the Fisheries Minister said on Wednesday. Work on the remaining two marine ambulances also was nearing completion, she said. The launching ceremony of ‘Prathyasha’ and ‘Karunya’, as the vessels were named, too would be held on Thursday.
A long-pending dream of fishers would turn a reality with the inauguration of the marine ambulance, Ms. Mercykutty Amma said. On an average, 30 fishers lost their lives every year to accidents at sea. The State government had inked an agreement with the CSL for the construction of three marine ambulances at a total cost of ₹18.24 crore, she added.
The vessels are 23 metres long with a draught of three metres. Each of them is powered by two 700 HP Scania engines and is capable of touching 14 knots. The Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT), Kochi, provided the technical advice for building the ambulances.