VESSEL REVIEW | Sooryamshu – Solar-powered inland tour boat to serve Kerala State, India

VESSEL REVIEW | Sooryamshu – Solar-powered inland tour boat to serve Kerala State, India

Photo: The Hindu/Thulasi Kakkat

Indian inland waterway transport company Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) will soon commence operational sailings of a new tour boat that can run on solar power.

Built by UAE-based the Solas Marine Services Group, the vessel is aptly named Sooryamshu after the Hindi translation of “Sunbeam.” It is one of the first double-deck tour boats in India that can run on solar power. This alternative propulsion method was chosen for its reduced emissions, quieter operation, and lower costs. The owners also expect the batteries will have operational lives of six to seven years, which means a considerable number of sailings can be completed before requiring replacement.

KSINC expects the introduction of Sooryamshu into service will help facilitate the conversion of some of its existing tour boats to enable them to also run on solar power.

The passenger cabins can accommodate 100 people while also having adequate space for a cafeteria. Access between the decks is via lift.

A diesel generator is also fitted on Sooryamshu, though this will be used mainly to supply power for the air conditioning. Its secondary function is to serve as a backup source of propulsive power if the batteries are inoperable.

Sooryamshu‘s daily operating schedule will consist of up to four trips with a total minimum duration of two hours.

Click here to read other news stories, features, opinion articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s Passenger Vessel Week.

Type of vessel:Tour boat
Owner:Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation, India
Builder:Solas Marine Services Group, UAE
Other equipment installed:Air conditioner; lift; solar panels
Type of fuel:Diesel
Operational area:Kerala, India

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