Why We Can No Longer Offer A Passage To India: Cargo Ship Passengers Are Banned By The Indian Authorities

Gateway of India by Ashwin Kumar of Bangalore

Terrorists seized a small fishing boat in 2008 to be able to land at Mumbai’s Gateway of India

Intending passengers often ask if they can book passage to India. And we have plenty of container ships with passenger accomodation sailing there, from American, European and Australian ports. But unfortunately we can no longer accept passengers in any of them.  The traditional “Passage to India” is no longer possible.

The closest we can offer is sailings to and from Sri Lanka on CMA CGM’s Columbus Jax route that runs: Halifax – New York – Norfolk – Savannah – (Suez Canal) – Port Kelang – Singapore – Jakarta – Laem Chebang – Vung Tau – Los Angeles – Oakland – Hong Kong – Yantian – Vung Tau – Singapore – Port Kelang to Colombo. The return voyage is then directly via Suez to Halifax and US ports. The quickest transits from and to North America are 26 days Oakland – Hong Kong – Yantian – Vung Tau – Singapore – Port Kelang – Colombo and 20 days Colombo to Halifax. But one must fly the section between Sri Lanka and India as there has been no ferry service between Colombo and Tuticorin since the Scotia Prince was withdrawn in 2011..
m.v. Kuber.
As to why sea passages are no longer possible, in an overabundance of caution, Indian authorities reacted to the 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai by banning all commercial cargo ship passengers. This was because some of the Mumbai attackers seized a small fishing boat, the m.v. Kuber (right), to make a landing at the Gateway of India. But compare the Kuber to the typical Indian trade container ship below and the difference will be obvious.
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CMA CGM Bellini at sea
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Ask yourself how a 5,700 TEU container ship could possibly get anywhere near the Gateway of India, which was built to commemorate the 1911 arrival of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay, as it was then known, on board the P&O passenger liner Medina. Opened in 1924, the structure later provided ceremonial welcomes to Viceroys of India and Governors of Mumbai.
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Since this spring, Australian trade ships returning to Europe can only carry passengers as far as Singapore, where passengers must change ships because the ships then call at two ports in  India, Chennai and Cochin, on the way back to Europe. Passengers can no longer sail straight back. In this case, it actually works out as the Asia trade ships are much faster getting to Europe than the Australia trade ships. Passengers just have to be content with a few days in Singapore or Port Kelang between ships.
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Passages to and from India are still possible when booked on seasonal cruise ships, however, although frequency of service is a problem and one must sail when they sail. Ask for details.
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For details of booking a cargo ship voyage with CMA CGM or any other cargo-passenger service please contact Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail
PassageEnquiry@aol.com.
 
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