In a first, US naval ship arrives in Indian shipyard for repair

The diesel marine engines in our ships are presently imported. It is one of those items which we do not have the indigenous capability, he said answering a question.
The diesel marine engines in our ships are presently imported. It is one of those items which we do not have the indigenous capability, he said answering a question.Screengrab

Chennai/New Delhi: US naval ship Charles Drew docked at Larsen & Toubro's shipyard at Kattupalli in Chennai on Sunday for undertaking repairs and allied services, in the first such voyage to India by an American vessel.

The defence ministry described it as a "huge boost" to 'Make in India' and said the visit added a new dimension to the burgeoning Indo-US strategic partnership.

"This is the first ever repair of a US Navy ship in India. The US Navy had awarded a contract to L&T's Shipyard at Kattupalli for undertaking maintenance of the ship," the ministry said in a statement. The USNS Charles Drew will be at the Kattupalli shipyard for 11 days.

In a brief interaction with reporters at the L&T's shipyard in Chennai, Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar said the government has accorded in principle approval for design and development of high capacity diesel marine engine for naval ships.

The diesel marine engines in our ships are presently imported. It is one of those items which we do not have the indigenous capability, he said answering a question.

To address this, it has been decided to develop the engine under the Make-1 procedure. Under the plan, government provides 70 percent assistance of the project cost for design and development of the engine.

The approval in principle has been given and very shortly follow-up steps would be taken to design and develop the engine. In the next 2-3 years, the big size '6 MW and above' marine diesel engines used for naval ships would be designed and developed in the country, he said. To a query, a top L&T official said that the contract for repairing the US ship has opened the doors for many more similar opportunities.

The ministry said: "The event signifies the capabilities of Indian shipyards in the global ship repairing market. Indian shipyards offer wide-ranging and cost-effective ship repair and maintenance services, using advanced maritime technology platforms".

Ajay Kumar, Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral SN Ghormade and other senior officials of the defence ministry visited the shipyard to welcome the vessel.

US Consul General in Chennai Judith Ravin and Defence Attach at the US Embassy at New Delhi Rear Admiral Michael Baker were also present.

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