Naval tankers under govt scanner

Naval tankers under govt scanner

Naval tankers under govt scanner

The Indian Navy on Friday admitted development of “minor cracks” in the superstructure of fleet tanker INS Deepak, two years after the ship was commissioned.

The admission follows reports of wrongdoings in the Rs 936-crore deal to purchase a fleet tanker from the Italian firm Fincantieri, which has supposedly used inferior quality of steel – a fact, which was also highlighted by the CAG in 2010.

Defence sources said few cracks were discovered on the superstructure when the ship was coming back from Russia with the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, because of which the ship was pulled into the Lisbon port where necessary repairing was carried out by the company.

“A subsequent board of inquiry could not find any material failure. The cracks probably occurred due to a combination of factors ranging from sub-zero temperature in the region, heavy seas and stormy conditions,” sources said.

The defence ministry has not ordered any inquiry into the allegation as yet. The issues related to material quality which was red-flagged by the CAG in a 2010 report that pulled up the UPA government for accepting inferior quality steel to manufacture the tanker though the request for proposal asked for a different type of steel, on the basis of which the price was fixed.

The report clearly stated that in the deal between Indian Navy and Fincantieri, “undue favour” was shown to the foreign vendor while purchasing the fleet tankers. The first commercial contract was followed by a second deal in 2009 to buy another tanker from Fincantieri. 

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