Chennai: Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal flagged off the maiden International Cruise Vessel - MV Empress, India’s first international cruise vessel - from Chennai to Sri Lanka in Chennai yesterday. 

This marks the beginning of the international cruise tourism terminal at Chennai, built at a cost of 17.21 crore rupees, heralding a new age of cruise tourism and maritime trade in the country. Coinciding on the occasion of Environment Day, Mr Sonowal along with the port officials also

planted 2,500 tree saplings at the port.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Sonowal said, under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways has been taking multiple steps to develop the avenues of cruise tourism in the country and bolster opportunities for maritime trade of India. He said, the launch of the maiden cruise service between Chennai and Sri Lanka has ushered a new chapter in the cruise tourism sector in the country. 

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