Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday flagged-in the first ever ship at the Rs 7,700 crore deep-water international Vizhinjam port here.
Vijayan, joined by Leader of Opposition in the assembly V D Satheesan, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and various state ministers, waved a green flag signalling the tugboats to push the huge Chinese ship -- Zhen Hua 15 -- from the wharf to the docking yard.
The tugboats pushing the vessel, which carries huge ship-to-shore and yard cranes, also gave it a water salute.
As the vessel touched the dock, firecrackers were burst and balloons released to welcome it.
Hundreds of people, across all age groups, arrived at the port area to see the ship arrive at the dock.
Zhen Hua 15 -- which began its journey from China at the end of August, was scheduled to dock at Vizhinjam on October 4, but its journey got delayed due to bad weather conditions along its route.
On reaching Indian coastal waters, it first went to Mundra port in Gujarat to offload some cranes there and then proceeded towards Vizhinjam.
The Vizhinjam port is being constructed under the public-private partnership model. The Adani Group is the private partner in the development of what will become one of the largest ports in the world, once commissioned.
The project, scheduled to be commissioned in 2019, was delayed due to several issues related to land acquisition.
Vizhinjam witnessed violent protests as fishermen in the area opposed the project, alleging that the port would adversely affect their livelihood.