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Monday, January 7, 2019 

The Indian government has entered into an agreement with Cochin Shipyard for the yard to take care of maintenance and repair of the nation's 24-strong fleet of coastal patrol craft over the next three years.

Reports in local media say that the vessels are becoming unserviceable due to lack of proper maintenance, with only one third of the fleet currently operational. One vessel has been out of action for over two years, following an explosion, for which the authorities have been able to find a cause. There are fears that the rest of the boats will suffer a similar fate.

The last maintenance contract, shared between Goa Shipyard and Garden Reach shipbuilders, expired in July 2017, since when the vessels have become unreliable. To rectify this, the government sought new maintenance partners. Five companies expressed an interest, and the three-year maintenance agreement covering the 23 boats which are potentially operable has been awarded to Cochin Shipyard.

The yard was apparently chosen because it is government-owned and has proven expertise in manufacturing, maintaining and repairing heavy, medium and small vessels belonging to the Navy and Coast Guard as well as several private shipping companies. The contract is worth Rs 3.50 crore, Rs 4.02 crore and Rs 4.63 crore respectively, in the first, second and third years of the contract.

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