The official operation of tourist ships resumed on the Teknaf-St Martin's waterway on Friday morning. The activities of all tourist ships had stopped eight months ago following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic in the country.
Mohammad Shah Alam, manager of Keari Sindabad ship, said more than 100 tourists went to St Martin's in order to stay the night there. The two ships came back with the other tourists to Teknaf's Damdamiya Ghat around 7pm.
The district administration has allowed tourist ships to carry passengers on the Teknaf-St Martin's route ahead of the tourist season. However, tourists must maintain proper health rules to avoid the risk of the novel coronavirus. The authority opened the waterway after examining the documents of the two ships – Keari Sindabad and Farhan Cruise.
Nayan Shil, deputy director of Chattogram division Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) said two ships sought permission to start operations on the Teknaf-St Martin's route this tourist season. The Farhan Cruise ship has been allowed to operate from 4 November to 27 February next year while Keari Sindabad has been permitted to do so from 1 October to 12 December. However, they did not start their operations earlier due to some internal reasons.
Nur Ahmed, chairman of the St Martin's Union Parishad, said Karnaphuli, a ship, has been operating since August but the island did not get a fair response. Now, the businessmen have started decorating their hotels and restaurants after hearing the news of ships operating on the route.