The first marine ambulance is unlikely to be rolled out by November this year as promised by the Kerala government. The ongoing construction of the marine ambulance at the Cochin Shipyard has been delayed with some issues raised on the keel and also engine specifications.
The government had earlier announced that the first marine ambulance would be launched in November. However, highly placed sources said that the work on the marine ambulance has slowed down. It is likely that the first marine ambulance would be by 2020 only.
They said that talks are on with the Cochin Shipyard for speeding up the construction of the marine ambulance.
The Fisheries Directorate had signed an agreement with the Cochin Shipyard in May 2018 for constructing three marine ambulances. The thought of marine ambulance was felt after cyclone Ockhi.
The marine ambulance is envisaged to be used in rescue operation and treatment of fishermen when they are in distress. The three ambulances would be stationed in the Southern, Central and Northern regions so that the entire coast is covered.
Each of the marine ambulance costs Rs 6 crore. The cost of the first ambulance would be borne by the BPCL and the Cochin Shipyard would bear half the cost of the second marine ambulance.
The marine ambulance that has been designed will be able to house two patients. The ambulance will have seven crew members on board, including paramedics. The ambulance is designed in such a way that it contains all facilities such as examination and nursing room, medical lockers, beds, refrigerator and mortuary freezer.