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A veteran seafarer urges Transport Minister to pull Poompuhar Shipping Corporation out of the woods

This has reference to the two articles that appeared in your magazine one published on Aug 09, 2017 under the heading “ Poompuhar Shipping Corporation Efforts to buy ships STYMIED by Tanjedco’s Top Bureacracy” and another on Nov 08, 2017 under the heading “Lack of Ships hamper coal movement to Thermal Plants in Tamilnadu”.

The situation is appalling. Tamilnadu is always facing acute power shortage and is sometimes totally depending upon Non Conventional Energy sources. It is intriguing to note that TANGEDCO (Tamilnadu Generation and Distribution Corporation) is not interested in permitting PSC to replace their age old vessels. These ships were custom built to meet the coal requirement of TTPS. Tuticorin Port Trust, at an enormous cost, increased the draft of the channel to enable these ships to come to port of Tuticorin with full cargo. PSC had been doing a yeoman service to TNEB to feed the ever hungry thermal power plants.

Any ship owner’s primary concern would be cargo, which has to be ferried from one port to another. Here is a situation where there is plenty of cargo, that too essential cargo, to be moved from Vizag, Paradip & Haldia to the Southern Ports. More over this is a never ending operation. But to everyone’s dismay the state owned shipping company is not allowed to replace their old ships. The powers to be are interested in chartering vessels at a huge cost.

What is the hidden agenda?

Poompuhar Shipping Corporation  (PSC)is a Government of Tamilnadu undertaking. This is the only Government owned shipping company, operating successfully for the past 44 years. Can it be allowed to have an unceremonious demise due to want of personnel gains by some bureaucracy? Especially when the chief minister of the state is keen on acquiring vessels for the corporation when the ship prices are low. The private ship owners, who offer their ships on charter are going to hold Tanjedco to ransom. Finally it is the tax payer’s money and not any individual’s. I am a seafarer for 20 years as a marine engineer, 5 years as a shipping company executive and 20 years in maritime education and training. I am absolutely shocked to realize the attitude of the bureaucrats of Tanjedco.

It is high time the Honorable Minister of Transports, Government of Tamilnadu, under whose control PSC is functioning, wakes up and pulls the corporation out of the woods. The shipping company of such a long standing, which had been a prime coastal operators should be allowed to continue its operation by acquiring new vessels.


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