New SOPs for Cruise Ships Helping Indian Ports. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) set up in 2016 which detailed the procedures for handling cruise vessel and passenger movements at major ports are proving to be greatly beneficial for smooth operations for cruise ships operating out of various Indian ports. These SOPs have been framed in consultation with the concerned stakeholders and contain simplified procedures to be observed by the multiple agencies involved in handling of cruise passengers and ship like Port authorities, customs, immigration, security(CISF), State government, ship agents, cruise lines, tour operators, Port Health Officers(PHO) etc.
The five major ports i.e. Mumbai Port, Mormugao Port, New Mangalore Port, Cochin Port and Chennai Port receive cruise ships as per the plan/programme of various cruise companies as a port of call. During December 2016 to March 2017, cruise ship Costa Neoclassica made Mumbai port its home port for operating a cruise service from Mumbai-New Mangalore-Cochin-Male-Colombo-Goa-Mumbai for seven voyages. Ferry services are also running from Mumbai Port (Gateway of India) to Mandwa & Elephanta, and from Ferry Wharf to Mora, Revas & Karanja.
Cruise terminals have been constructed in Mumbai, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Cochin and Chennai Ports. It is proposed to construct another cruise terminal facility with modern amenities at the Ernakulum wharf of Cochin Port to cater to the cruise passengers at an estimated cost of INR 25.72 crores. The Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned INR 21.41 crores for this project, against which the first instalment of INR 10.33 crores has been approved and INR 4.33 crores has already been released by the Ministry. This project involves construction of an international cruise terminal building of approximate area of 2253 sq mts.