Delivery of 1200 passenger capacity ships from March next year

Report by: 
ROOPA LALL
Port Blair
20 Jan 2019

After receiving flak from the passengers for the poor shipping services in both mainland-island and inter-island sectors, the Directorate of Shipping Services here has now switched gear as the Department has taken up a slew of new projects which are at different stage of progress. To start with, two brand new 1200 passenger capacity mainland-island ships built in the Cochin Shipyard Ltd is progressing as per schedule. These ships are likely to be delivered to the UT administration by mid-2020. The two 500 passengers capacity vessels ‘Nalanda & Sindhu’ costing Rs 236.25 crores to be operated in the Inter-Islands sector is almost ready and likely to be inducted in the shipping fleet by July this year which will boost shipping services in the Inter-Island sector. With the arrival of these new vessels, Shipping services here is likely to get boost both Inter-island and mainland-island. The 1200 passenger capacity mainland-island vessels costing Rs 409.5 crores each will be delivered to the UT Administration from March to May 2020.
Speaking to EOI, Captain Ashutosh Pandey, Director, Department of Shipping Services, A&N Administration told that the procurement of the two mainland-island vessels is really a big and positive step that will ensure better shipping services to the people. The existing mainland-inland vessels are ageing and all most completed their tenure. While MV Nicobar has completed 27 years, MV Nancowry 26 yrs and Swaraj Dweep has completed 19 years.
The two new vessels are the first vessels in entire Asia to incorporate Safe Return to Port (SRtP) technology. Since the vessels are being built at Cochin Shipyard Ltd, it can also be counted as projects completed under the ‘Make in India’ scheme of the government.  The engine of the two 1200 pax capacity vessels is also imported from Japan. The shipping fleet of the Directorate of Shipping Services here has as many as 70 vessels in operational condition and 17 vessels are ready for decommissioning. Out of this, 24 ships are larger vessels while 46 are small vessels. Out of the 1414 posts in the department, only 899 posts has so far been filled up.
Besides in order to spruce up the operational efficiency of the Marine Dockyard and to ensure faster turnaround of vessels for seamless operations, Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) & the Andaman & Nicobar Administration have entered into an MoU whereby CSL shall take up the ‘Operation & Maintenance of the Marine Dry-Dock” at Port Blair. Under the ambit of this MoU, CSL shall assist the Administration in setting up of Ship repair Eco-system at A&N islands, augmentation and modernization of Marine Dockyard and Skill Development & Training schemes for A&N Islands.
Under this agreement, whenever any vessels of the DSS fleet needs urgent repair, the vessel can be sent to the Cochin shipyard for repair & renovation where it will get preferential treatment.