Getting past a phase of uncertainty caused by insolvency, the ABG Shipyard has resumed construction of the cadet training vessels for the Navy and the first of the three vessels will be delivered in the last quarter of 2016.
The vessel will strengthen the training muscle of the Kochi-based Southern Naval Command’s First Training Squadron, presently comprising INS Tir, INS Gharial, CGS Varuna, and sail training ships Tarangini and Sudarshini.
“The corporate debt restructuring (CDR) process vis-à-vis ABG Shipyard is in place and money has been pumped into the company. The yard has resumed work on the cadet training ships and has now promised to deliver the first in late-2016,” Vice-Admiral Sunil Lanba, heading the Southern Naval Command, the Training Command of the Navy, told The Hindu in an interview.
The induction of a 4,000 tonne purpose-built training ship will be significant for the Navy, as the First Training Squadron providing afloat training to all budding naval officers has just one purpose-built training vessel at the moment — INS Tir with nearly 30 years of service. Barring the sail training ships, the rest were all customised for training as an interim measure.
Meanwhile, the Indian Naval Academy (INA) at Ezhimala has opened its doors for the maiden batch of foreign cadets — six trainees from Sri Lanka and Mauritius. “They started training at the INA in January this year. We are limiting the number of foreign cadets to six in view of the infrastructure constrains and the huge training requirements internally,” the Vice-Admiral said.
The detailed project report for the second phase of infrastructure expansion of the INA had been taken up for approval. The works in this phase would be over in the next four to five years.
Works that had been delayed inordinately were re-tendered with penalty clauses for needless delays, he said.
Vice-Admiral Lanba, also Commander-in-Chief of Coastal Defence of the region, said that while great strides had been made in integrating coastal security operations by various agencies, there was still a need for greater synergy in “registration of fishing boats, issue of i-cards and monitoring of fish-landing points.”
More effective monitoring and control of fishing was needed for greater transparency of marine traffic from a maritime domain awareness point of view.
There should be constant interaction between coastal security stakeholders and the fishing community for failsafe security. “We need to exchange information and educate the fishing community on the requirements of security,” he said in response to a query on the recent stand-off between the CISF and the fishermen over fishing activity in the Kochi shipping channel during latest edition of the ‘Theeravetta’ half-yearly exercise.
“The CISF would have been asked to keep the area sanitised during the exercise. Maybe that’s why it wanted the channel to be a no-fishing zone. The fishing community must have honoured that,” he said.