Kerala

Navy to convert operational vessel for cadet training

Private yard fails to deliver due to construction delays

The Navy is learnt to have firmed up its plans to carry out a role conversion of the amphibious ship Magar to undertake cadet training in the wake of its plans to get two cadet training ships built for the purpose hanging fire.

Magar, a landing ship and the lead vessel of the class, is expected to be sent soon either to the Cochin shipyard or the Naval Ship Repair Yard (Kochi) for full-scale conversion, during which it will get smart classrooms and other cadet training facilities before being attached to the First Training Squadron of the Navy.

The First Training Squadron under the Southern Naval Command comprises ships ‘Shardul’ (originally an amphibious ship), the aged ‘INS Tir’ which recently underwent an extensive refit, ‘INS Sujata’ (built as a patrol vessel), Coast Guard ship ‘Sarathi’, and sail training ships ‘Tarangini’ and ‘Sudarshini’. It takes care of sea training of cadets.

With the expansion in infrastructure in mind, the Navy, following proper tendering procedure, had contracted the private sector ABG shipyard for building two purpose-built vessels for ‘afloat’ training of cadets. The 970-crore contract was awarded in June, 2011, but what was hailed as a big push to the private sector in naval ship building soon ran into problems, thanks to design issues.

Each of the two vessels was to be 110 metres long, with a displacement of 4,000 tonnes, and capable of cruising at 20 knots. According to the contract, the first vessel was to be delivered in 42 months and the next, six months later.

But construction delays marred the project and the Navy was forced to convert operational vessels for training requirements of the squadron in the meantime.

In 2015, the then Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba, head of the Southern Naval Command — now Admiral and chief of the Navy — told The Hindu that the project had resumed after money had been pumped into the cash-strapped yard as part of a corporate debt restructuring (CDR) measure. He said the first ship would be ready by the end of 2016.

Reports, however, suggest that the debt-laden shipyard had filed for bankruptcy, following which the procedure is under way on the part of the banks that had lent it funds to put it on the block. The Hindu’s attempt to elicit a response from the yard on the fate of the vessel hit a deadend, as calls and an e-mail sent to its chairman Rishi Agarwal elicited no response.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 1:48:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/navy-to-convert-operational-vessel-for-cadet-training/article21039329.ece

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