Fleet tanker INS Deepak inducted into Navy

Mumbai: INS Deepak, an Italian-built fleet tanker, was today commissioned into the Navy by Defence Minister A K Antony, who said the current year will see more acquisitions and commissioning of vessels to strengthen maritime security.

The 175-metre long and 25-metre wide tanker was commissioned at the Naval Dockyard here.

"It is a great moment for Indian Navy and 2011 will see more acquisitions and commissioning to strengthen the maritime security," Antony said after unveiling the ship`s name plaque, marking the formal induction of INS Deepak.

He said that Navy has embarked on an ambitious ship-building programme to provide it with the required maritime assets to meet its mandate.

"Indian defence shipyards are working to their full capacity to meet the country`s warship requirements," he said.

"India`s continued presence in Indian Ocean waters necessitates pursuing our strategic and diplomatic interests; for which a ship such as Deepak, with an ability to sustain the Indian fleets at sea for prolonged periods, is a vital asset," he added.

The ship has a capacity to carry 15,450 tonnes of liquid cargo, 510 tonnes of solid cargo. It has 16 cargo containers on the upper deck and can provide fuel to four ships simultaneously. The solid cargo could be a combination of ammunition including missiles and rockets, and dry provisions for the fleet.

The fleet tanker, constructed and delivered in a record time of 27 months, has aviation facilities and can operate various types of helicopters from its deck. It has a self- defence capability provided by 30-mm guns and indigenous Anti Missile Defence System. The ship has been built by Italian company Fincantieri.

Chief of Naval staff Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma said, "The erstwhile Deepak, commissioned in November 1967, was decommissioned in April 1996 after a glorious 29 years of service. Deepak has come in a new avatar now. The ship with its state-of-the-art facilities will strengthen the Navy."

The ship is of `double hull` configuration, in keeping with the latest MARPOL and SOLAS regulations. Though INS Deepak is essentially a tanker, it is thoughtfully designed, and is capable of playing a large number of roles, said a Defence spokesperson.

The ship has a maximum speed of 20 knots and an endurance of 10,000 Nautical miles at a speed of 16 knots. It is equipped with four AK-630 guns for close defence, supplied by Ordnance Factory Board; and high-tech fire control system supplied by Bharat Electronics Limited.

In addition, the ship also has sophisticated electronic surveillance and communication equipment. It is capable of carrying out an integrated helicopter flight, the spokesperson added.