St. Martin is a very attractive destination for tourists. Even then, many hesitate to take any pleasure trip to the island for various hassles, including the lack of direct ship service from the beach town of Cox’s Bazar. However, the worry is over.
Any cruise to the St. Martin is going to be easier and hassle-free from now on as a direct ship service from Cox’s Bazar to the island is going to be launched on Thursday.State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury will formally inaugurate the operation of ‘MV Karnaphuli Express’ around 2pm. The ship is scheduled to go on its maiden voyage the next day.
A total of 582 people will be able to enjoy the thrilling journey through the Bay of Bengal.
Currently, tourists willing to visit the island have to go to Teknaf first and then start for the St. Martin’s Island from there in a ship.
The new direct ship service from Cox’s Bazar will relieve them from the extra hassle. They will be able to directly go to the island from the beach town and enjoy a 195-km exciting cruise on their way to and from the island.
M Hossainul Islam Bahadur, director of the ship and managing director of Farhan Express Tourism, said they will operate the ship regularly to and from the St. Martin’s Island.
“The ship will start for the island from the BIWTA ghat of North Nuniachhara at 7am while the return journey will begin at 3pm from the St. Martin’s Island,” he said, adding that tourists have to float for around 5 hours on the Bay during the journey.A tourist will have to pay Tk 2,000 for each economy seat while Tk 2,500 for each business class seat. Besides, there are arrangements for cabins in the ship.
The fare for each economy class cabin is Tk 12,000 while Tk 15,000 for each luxury class (VIP) cabin. Each cabin can easily accommodate two passengers.
Authorities will serve snacks to passengers. If a traveller wants to return on a different date, he or she will have to specify the date while collecting ticket.
Two propulsion engines, having the capacity of 600BHP, are attached to the ship which is 55 metres in length and 11 metres in width. It can travel at a speed of up to 12 nautical miles per hour.
There are a total of 510 seats in different categories in addition to 17 VIP cabins in the ship. Apart from these, it has a spacious conference hall, dining space and sea-view balcony.
Advanced technologies, including GPS, Echo Sounder System, Radar and Compass, have been attached to the ship for smooth navigation. Besides, fire extinguishing equipment are also there on the ship.
There are also lifesaving instruments like life jackets, life-rafts, lifebuoys and lifesaving boats to face any emergency situation.
Masters and crew members, who have the long experience of ship operation on the route, have been employed for running the ship. Tourist police are expected to be deployed to protect its passengers.
At the inaugural ceremony, local MP Ashek Ullah Rafique, Shipping Secretary Md Abdus Samad, Director General of the Department of Shipping Commodore Syed Ariful Islam, Deputy Commissioner Md Kamal Hossain, Superintendent of Police of the district ABM Masud Hossain, among others, will also be present.