India-Sri Lanka passenger ship/ferry commences service after 12-year halt

   October 10, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

The much-anticipated passenger ferry service connecting India and Sri Lanka commenced on Tuesday, October 10th, marking a significant event that has been in development for over a decade. This initiative comes to fruition as a result of a memorandum of understanding signed between the two nations.

In a collaborative endeavor, the Shipping Corporation of India in Mumbai, with support from the High Commission of India and the Ministry of Port, Shipping, and Aviation, is introducing this new ferry route linking southern India with northern Sri Lanka. The route runs from Nagapattinam (India) to Port Kankesanthurai/Jaffna City (Sri Lanka) and vice versa.

The selected vessel for this route is the High-Speed Craft (HSC) Cheriyapani (2006-built, IMO 9372949) which will make its inaugural call at the KKS port on October 6st. This new ferry service offers an economically viable travel option for passengers in India, further strengthening the historical ties between both countries.

Travelers will benefit from the expeditious journey, with a mere 3-hour transit time between the ports, covering a distance of 60 NM (111 km) in one direction. To enhance affordability, operators are generously providing a 50 kg baggage allowance.

Departures from Nagapattinam are scheduled daily at 10 AM, with arrivals in Kankesanthurai at 3 PM. The ferryboat accommodates 150 passengers and has a crew of 14.

In the early 1900s, a combined train and ferry service known as "Boat Mail" (aka Indo-Ceylon Express) connected these two nations. The train route ran between Chennai and Dhanushkodi (now an abandoned town on Pamban Island), while the boat roat connected to Talaimannar (Sri Lanka), followed by another train journey to Colombo. Regrettably, the boat service was discontinued in 1964 after a train was swept into the sea by massive waves.