Tanur tragedy: ‘Atlantic’ applied for permit to carry 21 people, began sail before final approval

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The boat involved in Tanur accident | Photo: Mathrubhumi

Tanur: The boat 'Atlantic' that caused the accident off the Thooval Theeram coast in Poorappuzha, Tanur, resulting in 22 deaths, was operated without adhering to any rules and regulations. The owner had sought permission from the Kerala Maritime Board to operate the service with 21 passengers, but was not granted final approval. Despite this, the boat had 37 passengers and two crew members, including the driver, on board when the accident occurred on Sunday.

It was revealed that the owner had applied to convert a fishing boat into a passenger boat. A surveyor from the Maritime Board inspected the boat to ensure that all the necessary conditions were met. However, several defects were found, and the surveyor instructed the owner to rectify them. The owner then submitted a re-application, stating that the defects had been fixed, and the surveyor re-examined the boat accordingly. The boat began operating last month, before this test results were known. The Maritime Board has reported that the owner started the service using the registration number KIV/BPR/99/23, which he received when he applied for the fitness certificate. This was not the final boat registration number.

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Boat owner Nasser was arrested by Tanur police from Kozhikode. However, skipper Dinesan, who drove the boat at the time of the accident, is currently on the run.

When converting a fishing boat into a passenger boat, several procedures need to be followed, including ensuring proper balance in the water. One of the regulations prohibits passengers from standing on the upper deck. It has been reported that the boat was making loud noises before the accident occurred, as a few upper deck passengers were dancing, causing the boat to capsize. Since the glass windows and doors were closed, those inside the boat could not escape, exacerbating the tragedy. Furthermore, the requirement to end the service before dusk was not met.

Among the 22 deceased were 15 individuals below the age of 18, including an eight-month-old baby girl. There were concerns that more people might have been involved in the accident, prompting the Navy and the scuba diving team of the fire rescue team, who arrived from Kochi, to conduct an extensive search on Monday. However, they could not locate anyone else. No one has been reported missing to the police.

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