Tourist boat rescue: Goa police arrest owner, operator for endangering lives

Indian Coast Guard personnel rescue passengers from a tourist ferry boat which was caught in rough weather and faced fuel exhaustion near the Mormugao harbour in Goa.
Indian Coast Guard personnel rescue passengers from a tourist ferry boat which was caught in rough weather and faced fuel exhaustion near the Mormugao harbour in Goa.

Panaji | The Goa police have arrested the owner and operator of the tourist boat, which got stranded off Mormugao Harbour, forcing the Indian Coast Guard to rescue 26 persons on board, an official said on Tuesday.

In light of the incident, Goa Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte warned of strict action against water sports operators running their establishments illegally and putting the lives of tourists at risk.

The Coast Guard on Sunday rescued 24 tourists and two crew members from the boat "Nerul Paradise", which got stranded near Raj Bhavan waters, two kilometres from Mormugao Harbour.

Talking to PTI, a senior police officer said boat owner Vasudev Calangutkar and its operator Abhishekh Rathod were arrested on Monday, and a case was registered against them for endangering lives.

Calangutkar allegedly allowed Rathod to operate the inland passenger boat without any document or licence from the competent authority, he said.

The police lodged a complaint suo moto, stating that the operator could not navigate the boat in the sea and had to be rescued by the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard, in its statement, said that the boat got caught in the rough weather with waves over three metres and got stranded due to fuel exhaustion on Sunday.

The two accused have been booked under sections 280 (whoever navigates any vessel in a manner so rash or negligent to endanger human life) and 336B (reckless or negligent action that puts human life in danger or threatens personal safety) of the Indian Penal Code, the official said.

Reacting to the incident, the state tourism minister claimed that many water sports operators did not possess mandatory no-objection certificates (NOC) from his department.

He alleged that the former captain of the ports department had permitted operators to run their businesses without NOCs from the tourism department.

"We are warning all water sports operators who don't have proper permissions to stop their activities or else they will have to face strict action," Khaunte said, adding that he will take up the issue with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.

The minister said he would call a meeting of all water sports associations to get a clear picture of illegalities on the beaches.

The government will audit the carrying capacity of beaches, which will help while issuing NOCs for the next tourist season, he said.

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