Accident may delay delivery of ships

Accident may delay delivery of ships

The fatal accident involving an Indian warship in Mumbai on Friday may further delay delivery of three potent warships with stealth features to the Indian Navy, though construction began a decade ago.

Prior to the accident, the Navy was to induct the first of the three Kolkata-class destroyers as INS Kolkata in June 2014, followed by INS Kochi in 2015 and INS Chennai in 2016. 

The death of a Navy officer may have now pushed back the deadline by several weeks, though the Navy is hopeful of a speedy solution.

The Rs 45,000-crore P-15A are behind schedule by several months. Constructed by Mazgaon Dock Limited (MDL) in Mumbai, the commissioning of the first ship, Kolkata, was initially planned in 2011. 

The delivery deadline was later pushed to the second half of 2013 and subsequently to 2014, adding to the woes of the Navy.  As a result, P-15A now have a cost escalation of 225 per cent from the first estimate.MDL is a defence PSU and reports to Defence Minister A K Antony.

The ship has not yet been delivered to the Navy. 

It is yet to receive the name Kolkata as well as the INS prefix, which will come only after the commissioning. 

Identified as Yard-701, the ship was undergoing machinery trials at Mumbai Port Trust when the accident occurred.

Kolkata's keel was laid in September, 2003. Ten years after construction, the ship was almost ready for the user trial when the accident happened, killing Commander Kuntal Wadhwa. 

 For the second ship, Kochi (Yard-702), keel was laid in 2005, whereas the keel of the third ship, Chennai (Yard-703), was laid in 2006.

They are the follow-on of indigenous Delhi-class destroyers INS Delhi, INS Mysore and INS Mumbai, commissioned between 1997 and 2001.

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