Today in Mumbay there was the commissioning ceremony for the “Deepak”, the first of two fleet tankers ordered from Fincantieri by the Indian Navy.
Present at the ceremony were A.K. Antony, the Indian Minister of the Defence, Admiral Nirmal Varma, Chief of Naval Staff of the Indian Navy, and Corrado Antonini, Chairman of Fincantieri. The order is the first surface vessel India has ordered from a European company, gained in competition against prominent international players, in particular from Russia and Korea.
With a displacement at full load of 27,500 tonnes, the 175 metre long fleet tanker, with a beam of 25 metres and a height of 19, has two 10,00 kW diesel engines for propulsion and can reach a maximum speed of 20 knots. Further features include a propulsion system with an adjustable propeller and a flight deck for medium-heavy helicopters (up to 10 tons).
The ship can accommodate 250 crew and personnel. Thanks to double hatches the vessel can supply four ships at the same time.
In accordance with the new Marpol regulations of the International Maritime Organization regarding safeguarding of the environment, the ship has been built with a double hull which will afford greater protection to the fuel tanks thereby avoiding the risk of pollution in case of collision or damage.
Cooperation with India commenced in 2004 when Fincantieri signed two contracts with Cochin shipyard for the design of the engine, technology transfer and provision of complementary services for the construction of Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC). In addition, in 2007, the company delivered the “Sagar Nidhi”, an oceanographic vessel for the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) in Madras, which is already in service off the Indian coast to the full satisfaction of the customer.
Fincantieri considers the market in the East strategic and holds in high regard the development of cooperation with its prestigious Indian partner, proof of which is both the opening in recent years of a representative office in New Delhi and, now, of a Fincantieri technical support unit in India in order to guarantee to the Indian Navy maximum availability and efficiency of the new Fleet Tankers.
The Indian Navy is the fourth Navy in the world in terms of resources/staff (96.000 men and women) and vessels (125). In recent years, the Indian Navy has started complex modernization of its fleet renewing some units built locally, thanks to targeted industrial cooperation with Western countries.
The sister ship of the “Deepak”, the “Shakti”, which was launched last October at Sestri Ponente (Genoa) shipyard, is currently being fitted out at Sestri Ponente shipyard (Genova). Delivery is scheduled in autumn 2011.