The Current State of Kochi International Marina, Cochin, India

Published 12 years ago, updated 5 years ago

Noonsite received this report early in February 2012. For obvious reasons, Noonsite has agreed that the correspondent’s name is not published.

Noonsite has written to the Ocean Blue management about the state of the Kochi marina, but so far has not received any reply.

The current state of the only marina in India is sadly falling apart due to neglect. Last night a yachtsman put his foot through a plank when jumping off his boat and twisted his knee. This highlights a serious issue that is being ignored by Ocean Blue, the management team behind the current marina contract.

There are three main pontoon fingers and all three are in a poor state. They are made from a dry, teak-looking wood that splinters and appears to contain no natural oil to repel the monsoon climate.

Pontoon A, due to its non-use, is covered in guano. Last night’s rain, the first in many months, has made this a dangerous ice-rink. The guano has never been cleaned.

Pontoons B and C, which see the most activity, have a rot problem. Planks are rotting from underneath, so often the danger is not apparent until a foot is put through the deck, which has happened on a number of occasions. I would estimate that a fifth of the planks needs urgent attention.

A temporary repair was made to one plank on the slope that joins the pontoons to the mainland. The repair was made with a piece of household three-ply (not marine-ply) tacked over the top of the problem plank. Needless to say, this fell apart within a week.

Two planks have been varnished, whilst a section of planks by the entrance to the marina slip-way have been sanded to look new!

This issue has been brought to both the marina manager’s attention (Ocean Blue) and the new hotel manager who’s land the marina sits on (owned by KTDC, the government-run Keralan tourism department). We have also flagged up the issue of marina staff who do nothing to the repairs but spend much of the day fishing from the pontoons.

Sadly, due to cultural differences, grievances like these are taken as a personal insult and not registered as a formal complaint and are therefore ignored. We have heard nothing from the management since the complaint and seen no effort to make these urgent repairs. The marina continues to rot and remains hazardous to yachtsmen.

Report from “The Times of India”

KOCHI: Waves of pirate fear are scaring yachtsmen away from the Kochi marina. This paranoia has taken the wind out the marina’s sails with no new yacht berthing here this year.

Marina officials do not expect the scenario to change dramatically in the coming six weeks as the ideal sail window is from December to March. Dedicated in 2010, the marina can berth 37 yachts. Last year the Kochi marina hosted 35 yachts. But for the two yachts that reached here last year, the marina wears a deserted look now. “We had 35 arrivals last year. But this year it’s quite dull as none is coming this way. We collected a berthing fee of Rs 30 lakh last year,” said Alex P George, an official of the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) in-charge of the marina.

Further Update Regarding the State of the Marina

Alex, the new hotel manager, who is employed by the KTDC, is doing his best to improve the situation at the marina.

He has been getting some press coverage, both in today’s regional newspaper and on local television, to emphasize the problems of piracy and its effect on the lack of cruisers in India.

Also, they have highlighted the complications of cruisers visiting the Lakshadweep Islands, specifically the cost. Currently, there is no rate card for private, foreign cruisers so we are quoted the same rates that are charged to cruise liners. Of course, this runs into hundreds of dollars! We have been told it is now being discussed in Delhi and Alex appeared positive that the situation is under review. He even showed us the minutes of his meeting with his KTDC managers to prove this!

He has also told us that wi-fi will be installed in the marina and that this will happen “within the week”. I have been asking Ocean Blue about this since our arrival two years ago, so let’s see what happens.

Some provisional efforts have been made to the repairs of the marina, with more ply being tacked over the offending holes. There are no replacement planks as yet and we have had to move our boat over to the next pontoon which is, currently, holeless.

Alex has also erected a large sign on the end pontoon asking passing boats to keep their distance and reduce their speed to 3 knots. Whether this is effective in reducing the wake that plagues the marina is almost incidental, the fact he got the sign made within a day of being asked shows willing. I truly believe he has the marina customers’ interests at heart.

This update is from Jamie Furlong. Our thanks to him for sending us this information.

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