Investigations are on into the recent incident of loss of the rudder plate, an important part of the solar ferry, Aditya, plying in the Vaikom-Thavanakkadavu route. The 75-seater solar ferry, first of its kind in the country, built by the Kerala-based joint venture company, Navalt, is being operated by Kerala State Water Transport Department. The rudder plate, which helps the boat in controlling its direction, is fitted on the boat below the water level. The 20 metre-long, 7 metre-wide boat could not be steered correctly, giving rise to tense moments, during one of the journeys a few days ago. On examination, it was found that one of the two rudder plates had fallen into the water during a journey. Officials of Indian Registrar of Shipping (IRS) examined the boat later. The rudder plate is attached to the boat by nuts and bolts. It was concluded that the rudder plate won’t get detached from the boat unless the nuts and bolts are loosened.
“A dozen nuts and bolts keep the rudder plate intact. The nuts and bolts won’t get loosened without external effort,” a person involved in the making of the solar ferry, told The Hindu . The unfastened rudder plate was recovered from the lake bed by divers.
Possibility of sabotage has not been ruled out by experts.
There had been opposition to the project from certain quarters at the time of awarding of the contract for construction of the solar ferry.
KSWTD has been asked by IRS officials to provide enough security to the boat at the jetties.