IOC, SBI join Volvo Ocean Race India Stopover Team

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Kochi, Nov 22 (UNI) Public sector Indian Oil Corporation has joined the Volvo Ocean Race India Stopover as a 'partner' while the State Bank of India will be the 'official banker' for the ten-day stopover of the premier international yachting event here from December 3.

Addressing a press conference today, Cochin Port Trust Chairman N Ramachandran said the advance teams of Volvo and the eight participating competitors have started arriving at Kochi and are putting up their corporate pavilions and technical bases in the 'Race Village' at Willingdon Island.

The 'Race Village' would be inaugurated by Kerala Labour and Excise Minister P K Gurudasan on November 30 while Union Shipping Minister T R Baalu will dedicate the extended BTP Berth to the nation on December one.

A gala welcome ceremony would be held on December three for the participants, at which Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi would be the Chief Guest and Kerala Home and Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan the Guest of Honour.

After a 10-day stopover at Kochi, the only halt in India, the Volvo Ocean Race would move on its third leg to Singapore on December 13. The third leg would be flagged off by Union Tourism Minister Ambika Soni alongwith Mr Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

Allaying any fears about disruption of ships or port operations during the stopver, Mr Ramachandran said there would be no hampering of the regular operations as the Race programme would be confined to the area close to the BTP Jetty.

There would only be a two-hour restriction on the movement of ships and boats on December 13 when the race yachts will depart for Singapore after a parade in the Kochi backwaters.

The Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 will be the 10th running of this ocean marathon. Spanning some 37,000 nautical miles, stopping at 11 ports, and taking nine months to complete, the Volvo Ocean Race is the world's premier yacht race for professional racing teams.

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