Port Blair: The Andaman & Nicobar Administration had entered into an agreement with Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) on November 28 last year to modernize the Marine Dockyard at Port Blair.

Under the ambit of this agreement, CSL shall assist the Administration in setting up a Ship Repair Ecosystem, modernize the facility and undertake skill development in the Islands.

The agreement was signed at Port Blair by Sudhir Mahajan, Secretary (Shipping), A&N Administration and Madhu S Nair, CMD, CSL.

The agreement is for a period of 30 years, during which Cochin Shipyard Ltd CSL will spruce up the operational efficiency of the dockyard as well as improve the overall ship repair ecosystem in the Island, to ensure a quicker turnaround by minimizing downtime of the vessels, which are the lifeline for Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

CSL has since then conducted a detailed 'Dipstick Audit' of Marine Dockyard by an expert team consisting of Officers representing various key Departments as mandated in the agreement.

In a parallel activity, CSL has also initiated the recruitment process for augmenting its staff and also placed an EOI for 'Empanelment for Undertaking Turnkey Subcontract Works at CSL-Andaman Ship Repair Unit (CANSRU), Port Blair' to attract professional Ship Repair Companies.

“The progress of the modernization project was unfortunately hampered by the COVID-19 related lockdown and subsequent restrictions, but is expected to pick-up momentum soon,” sources in Andaman Administration informed media today.

Till now, the A&N Administration is fortunate to benefit from the technical expertise of CSL which has similar entities in Kolkata, Mangalore, Mumbai in similar agreements, to support upkeep & maintenance of vessels operating in the region.

Ship repairing in Andaman always remained a major challenge for the local Administration, which is maintaining a large number of vessels and big ships and in many cases, the ships are being sent to Mainland or foreign ports for repair works, which is not only time consuming but also expensive.