By Anand Singh
Pipavav (Gujarat), Oct 24 (IANS) ICGS Varuna, an indigenously-designed training vessel built by Anil Ambani-led Reliance Naval and Engineering Limited for the Indian Coast Guard, was launched here on Wednesday.
The vessel was formally launched at a function held in the presence of Coast Guard Director General Rajendra Singh at the Pipavav Shipyard.
Speaking at the launch, Singh said: “Currently, the ICGS has a fleet of 138 vessels, While another 71 vessels are under various phases of construction.”
He also asked the RNEL to deliver the vessels to the Coast Guard as per schedule.
RNEL CEO Debashis Bir said that the vessels would be delivered to the Indian Coast Guard by the end of May 2019 after extensive tests and trials.
He said that the 105-metre long and 15-meter wide training vessel is the largest ship ever built for the ICGS, at the cost of Rs 220 crore.
Bir said that ICGS Varuna is a 105-metre-long vessel with a compliment of 242 officers and sailors. It is powered by twin diesel engines and can reach speeds of 20 knots.
“The vessel is a first-of-its kind, next-generation training ship and has been entirely designed by the design bureau of RNEL.”
Bir emphasised that the training ship has a primary role to impart sea training to cadets as well giving them exposure to the lives of Coast Guard officers.
He said that the vessel is equipped with ultra-modern navigation and communication systems.
The RNEL works on the modern 3D technology, which is based on virtual reality and the entire vessel has been designed on 3D platform instead of drawing books.
According to RNEL, apart from ICGS Varuna, the company is constructing 19 other vessels – five offshore patrol vessel and 14 fast patrol vessels.
The company plans to deliver the 14 SPVs in 26 months before the scheduled delivery.
Appealing for a level playing field, Bir said: “There are five shipyards in the public sector and two large shipyards in the private sector. The total order book of the PSU shipyards is Rs 2 lakh crore, whereas their combined turnover was just about Rs 8,000 crore per annum.”
“In comparison, the two private shipyards have an order book of only Rs 6,000 crore,” he said.
Asked why the RNEL needs more orders from the government, the CEO said: “If we look at public sector shipyards, they have a 25 year-order book. I don’t see any reason for that as in 25 years, the ship technology is going to be obsolete.”
“So you take an order and deliver it after 25 years doesn’t make any sense to me but I am not going to criticise the government. So, in our case, we have a very very weak order book. So, we need to develop that kind of confidence with the Coast Guard and Navy so that we get much bigger orders,” he said.
According to Bir, Reliance Naval has the largest shipbuilding facility in India.
“The shipyard has an installed throughput of 140,000 tonne of steel, equivalent to an annual revenue of a minimum Rs 4,000 crore,” he added.
(Anand Singh is in Pipav on the invite of RNEL. He can be contacted at [email protected])