Friday, December 17, 2010

Navy to induct first Italian-made tanker in January next

NEW DELHI: Navy is scheduled to induct the first of the two Italian-made tanker ships in its fleet by the end of January next, providing it with the capability to send supplies to its sailing warships instead of these having to visit ports for replenishment.

"The Navy will formally induct the first of the two tankers, christened INS Deepak, at a function in Mumbai by the end of January next year," a senior Defence Ministry official said here today.

Tentatively, the induction ceremony will take place at the Mumbai Naval docks on January 21 or there about.

Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, which won the contract for building the two tankers in October 2008, has built the Deepak class of tankers and the second ship, INS Shakti, in this class is currently under final stages of trials.

Deepak had been launched in the waters at Fincantieri's Muggiano shipyard on February 12 this year and Shakti on October 11 this year at the firm's Sestri Ponente (Genova) shipyard.

The two tankers, having a displacement of 27,500 tonnes at full load, are 175-metre long and propelled by two 10,000 kilowatt diesel engines.

These ships can attain a maximum speed of 20 knots and have the capacity to carry fuel for four warships at a time.

The tankers are manned by 250 crew members and have the capacity to carry troops too, apart from carrying a 10-ton helicopters on its flight deck.

INS Shakti too is scheduled for induction into the Navy before the end of 2011.

In July this year, the Fincantieri contract had come under CAG's criticism for acceptance of inferior-grade steel used in the manufacture of the fleet tankers, saying it amounted to "undue favour to a foreign vendor in (the) procurement of fleet tankers."

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