Setu Channel project: damned statistics, and lies

Setu Channel Project: damned statistics, and lies

The news report on Marine Engineer K. Chidambaram is interesting. But, I think he is wrong in assuming that the SSCP is designed to take ships of 40,000 DWT or less. The project report says that the channel passage is designed only for 30 to 34,000 DWT and a draft limitation of 10 metres.

Given the draft restriction of upto 10 m. only on the Setu channel, only 30 to 34,000 dwt loaded vessels can ply. Source for this fact is as follows:

 

A detailed vessels size analysis has been carried out and typical dimensions of the design vessel sizes are given below.

 

Vessel Size

LOA (m)

Beam (m)

Draft (m)

30,000

190

30

10.5 *

40,000

215

33

11.0 *

50,000

267

33

12.5 *

      * draft restricted to 10 m

 

After careful consideration of the channel parameters, it is recommended to consider 10 m draft vessels to pass through the SSCP channel. …From the vessel size analysis, all vessels up to 20,000 DWT, about 75% of 30,000 DWT, 10% of vessels up to 40,000 DWT and 5% of vessels upto 50,000 DWT, and all empty vessels will fall in this category and can pass through SSCP.

 

Vessels of draft of 10m can ply the channel safely.  Source: http://sethusamudram.gov.in/LNTReport.asp DPR and Evaluation of EIA Study for Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project by L&T Ramboll Consulting Engineers Limited, 339/340, Annasalai, Nandanam, Chennai-35

Shipping Minister TR Baalu cites irrelevant statistics related to ships of 50,000 Dead Weight Tonnes (DWT) or less. Aha, there is a world of difference between 30,000 and 50,000 DWT ships. Try sending a 50,000 DWT vessel and it has good chances of getting grounded in the Gulf of Mannar channel, with virtually no facilities for salvage operations !Marine engineers note that the SSCP is designed to carry only small vessels of less than 40,000 DWT.

The project report of SSCP clearly states that the channel passage is designed only for vessels between 30,000 to 34,000 DWT, with a draught limitation of 10.5 metres.

So, why is TR Baalu interested in abusing statistics and lying about the SSCP capacity? Even in politics, there should be some semblance of honesty about facts and engineering realities.

TR Baalu has not contested the allegation that he ain’t no marine engineer. So, it is prudent to listen to real marine negineers like K. Chidambaram or mariners like Capt. Balakrishnan.

kalyanaraman

Baalu defends Setu Channel project

… Around 79 per cent of vessels visiting Indian ports in 2006-07 were small ones weighing less than 50,000 tonnes.
Of the 20,864 ships that visited 12 ports last year, 16,442 weighed less than 50,000 tonnes, Shipping Minister TR Baalu said in a statement in Chennai in response to Naval Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta’s recent comment that the canal was only fit for small ships. http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20080039668&ch=1/28/2008%2010:51:00%20AM

SSCP good only for small ships: Chidambaram, President, Institute of Marine Engineers (India)

The Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP) has been designed in such a way that only ships below 40,000 dead weight tonnage (DWT) can sail through it, said K Chidambaram, president, Institute of Marine Engineers (India). “All other ships have to take the route circumnavigating Sri Lanka,” said Mr Chidambaram here on Tuesday, reacting to the recent controversy over chief of naval staff admiral Sureesh Mehta’s statement that only small ships will be able to sail through the SSCP. Union minister for shipping, road transport and highways T R Baalu had later questioned the veracity of the chief of naval staff’s statements.

Mr Chidambaram, a qualified marine engineer from the Directorate of Marine Engineering and Technology (DMET), said that each canal was designed and built with certain capacity. “The SSCP is meant for small ships and one need not feel sorry about airing its capacity,” he said.

Mr Chidambaram also talked about the World Shipping Forum 2008, a three-day international conference, organised by the Institute of Marine Engineers in the city from Thursday. “Shipping experts, and marine engineers will present papers on the different aspects in the shipping industry. The theme of this years’ conference will be strategies for future shipping challenges,” said Mr Chidambaram.

World Shipping Forum is a quadrennial event that attracts ship owners, business strategists and policy makers.

Experts like Karl Laubstiebn of the World Maritime University, Sweden, D T Joseph, former secretary, shipping ministry, S Hajara, president of the Indian National Ship Owners Association and Vijay Shankar of the Sanmar Group will attend the forum.

Mr Chidambaram described the Institute of Marine Engineers as a body of more than 9,000 professional marine engineers.

The Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP) has been designed in such a way that only ships below 40,000 dead weight tonnage (DWT) can sail through it, said K Chidambaram, president, Institute of Marine Engineers (India). “All other ships have to take the route circumnavigating Sri Lanka,” said Mr Chidambaram here on Tuesday, reacting to the recent controversy over chief of naval staff admiral Sureesh Mehta’s statement that only small ships will be able to sail through the SSCP. Union minister for shipping, road transport and highways T R Baalu had later questioned the veracity of the chief of naval staff’s statements. Mr Chidambaram, a quali- fied marine engineer from the Directorate of Marine Engineering and Technology (DMET), said that each canal was designed and built with certain capacity. “The SSCP is meant for small ships and one need not feel sorry about airing its capaci- ty,” he said. Mr Chidambaram also talked about the World Shipping Forum 2008, a three-day international con- ference, organised by the Institute of Marine Engineers in the city from Thursday. “Shipping experts, and marine engi- neers will present papers on the different aspects in the shipping industry. The theme of this years’ confer- ence will be strategies for future shipping challenges,” said Mr Chidambaram. World Shipping Forum is a quadrennial event that attracts ship owners, busi- ness strategists and policy makers. Experts like Karl Laubstiebn of the World Maritime University, Sweden, D T Joseph, former secretary, shipping ministry, S Hajara, president of the Indian National Ship Owners Association and Vijay Shankar of the Sanmar Group will attend the forum. Mr Chidambaram described the Institute of Marine Engineers as a body of more than 9,000 profes- sional marine engineers.

http://www.dc-epaper.com/deccanchronicle/ArticleText.aspx?article=30_01_2008_005_007

SSCP restricted to vessels of 30,000 DWT to 34,000 DWT

According to the consultants for the SSCP, the number of ships that are expected to navigate through the SSC is 3055 in 2008 and 7141 in 2025. This is a deliberately inflated figure to meet the commercial and political (wholly private!!) ambitions of T.R.Balu. I hope the Comptroller and Auditor General of India would take due note of this obvious fact.

We can predict with a reasonable accuracy the number of coal carrying bulk-carriers that will navigate through the SSC. These vessels carry thermal coal from Haldia/Paradeep/Vizag to Chennai/Tuiticorin to cater to the requirements of the Thermal Power Plants located at these ports. Based upon annual requirement of Coal Ships for Tuiticorin Thermal Power Plant, not more than 215 ships will be required per annum to meet the annual coal requirements of Tuticorin Thermal Plant.

Apart from these 215 coal ships, not more than 200 other ships can be expected to go through SSCP for meeting the petrol requirements of Tuticorin and its hinterland. Even this is an optimistic estimate. Thus at the most, it may be possible that 1000 vessels may use the SSC annually and even this optimistic figure may not be realized, and is nowhere near the projected figure of 3055 vessels in 2008. This is on account of the fact that global shipping trends are towards larger vessels of 60,000 DWT and above, and the SSC being restricted to vessels of 30,000 DWT- 34,000 DWT, with a draught limitation of 10.7 Metres.

Source: Statistics provided by Capt. Balakrishnan http://www.newstodaynet.com/2007sud/may07/260507.htm

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One Response to “Setu Channel project: damned statistics, and lies”

  1. Govindan Says:

    It is a sorry state of affairs that even the Poompuhar Shipping Corporation’s three ships only meant for carrying coal regularly to TNEB thermal stations cannot use the SSCP in fully loaded condition because their capacity is 40000DWT. (Refer their website.) A maximum of 217 ships carrying coal to Tuticorin port for the Thermal power station may be able to use the canal with reduced capacity. Even if we consider 10% increase in traffic it would take centuries to reach the projected figure, provided 30000DWT ships are available for navigation and if there is no accident. Any accident in the channel will render it inoperable.

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