With the launch of the two Diving Support Vessels INS Nistar and Nipun at the Hindustan Shipyard Limited on Thursday, the shipbuilder has reached a unique milestone of building 200 ships and completing 2,000 repairs since its inception in 1941.
HSL’s foray into shipbuilding began with its first project called SS Jala Usha — a 8,000-tonne steam ship that was launched on March 14, 1948 by Jawaharlal Nehru.
Originally founded as Scindia Shipyard, it was built by visionary industrialist Walchand Hirachand and was then part of the Scindia Steam Navigation Company.
After navigating several ups and downs, the shipyard was nationalised in 1961 and was renamed as Hindustan Shipyard Limited and brought under the Ministry of Shipping. However, in 2010, it was transferred to the Ministry of Defence and since then has been a part of the MoD.
At the launch of the two DSVs on Thursday, Chairman and Managing Director of HSL Commodore Hemant Khatri said that the shipyard was primarily built to construct merchant ships and built two warships for the Indian Navy for the first time in 1959.
“Thereafter, there was a gap of three decades, and in the 1990s we built four offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for the Navy — INS Savitri, Sharada, Sujata and Sayura. Again, there was a gap of over two decades after which we got an order to build INS Dhruv in 2013,” said Cmde Khatri.
“Constructing INS Dhruv was the turning point for HSL. It was a different class of ship that needed state-of-the-art technology, as it was a research vessel and missile range instrumentation ship,” he said.
INS Dhruv was commissioned in October 2020 and is jointly operated by the Indian Navy, National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) and Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO).
“Since then, we haven’t looked back and the building of two DSVs concurrently is a feather in our cap,” Cmde Khatri said.
HSL achieved a turnover of ₹750 crore in the last financial year, the highest so far, and also recorded a profit of ₹51 crore.