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Vasan flags off India's first cruise liner "M.V. AMET Majesty"


June 8, 2011 - Chennai

Minister of Shipping G.K. Vasan flagged off M.V. AMET Majesty, India's first cruise liner and onboard training ship in Chennai today.

Speaking on the occasion, Vasan stated that cruise Shipping is one of the fastest growing segments in the leisure industry worldwide.

"The government is gearing up to increase the footfalls into India further in the coming years besides promotion of Indian flag cruises, including river cruises," he added.

He said the focus will be to showcase India as an attractive tourist destination for cruise tourists with its vast and beautiful coastline, virgin forests and undisturbed idyllic islands, rich historical and cultural heritage.

"The government also plans to ensure that the cruise shipping industry in India becomes internationally competitive and contribute to the economy in terms of generation of foreign exchange, income, employment and business opportunities," he added.

He said the cruise shipping policy is already in place which permit 100 per cent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the Shipping Sector including Cruise Shipping.

"Besides, foreign flag Cruise ships/vessels have also been permitted to make coastal voyages between different ports of India in relaxation of the provisions of Section 407(1) of MS Act," he added.

Speaking on the training of seafarers, the Minister stated that Indian seafarers are one of the most qualified lot in the world with a share of 6.3 per cent for officers and 7.5 per cent for ratings in the world.

To address the shortage of trained manpower problem in the industry, he initiated several measures to not only increase the numbers of trained manpower but also to improve the quality of training.

He said that setting up the Indian Maritime University in 2008 is a step in this direction and that further steps will be taken to increase the share of Indian seafarers as envisaged in the Maritime Agenda.

Vasan also announced that the Thoothukoodi-Colombo Passenger Ferry Service would be flagged off within the next two weeks.

ANI

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