Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) of Kerala, India (pictured), has secured a contract to build three ambulance boats for the Government of Kerala’s fisheries department. These craft will primarily be used to provide an SOS service for local fishermen, in the event of an emergency or natural disaster.
The order was largely influenced by the events of December 2017, when Cyclone Ockhi pummelled Kerala, as well as other areas in India and Sri Lanka, resulting in more than 200 fatalities. It is estimated that fishing constitutes the primary source of employment for some 222 villages across Kerala, covering about 600,000 residents.
Each ambulance craft will measure approximately 22.5m x 5.99m, feature a top speed of 14knots and carry up to seven crew members, including paramedics, and two patients/casualties. Onboard features will include an examination/nursing room, medical beds, medical lockers, a refrigerator and a mortuary freezer. Additionally, each vessel will be fitted with two foldable platforms – one on either side of the aft deck – to facilitate retrieval of casualties from the water. The Indian Register of Shipping will handle classification of the trio.
This order is a welcome addition to a prolific order book for CSL, which posted a shipbuilding turnover of Rs1,732 crore (US$251.7 million) for the 2017-2018 financial year – an increase on the Rs1,516 crore (US$220.3 million) recorded for the year previous.
Additionally, CSL is currently completing four fast ferry/cargo carrier newbuilds for the Andaman & Nicobar Administration, which charters the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) to provide services connecting mainland India to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal. Two of the vessels in this order are designed with the capacity for 500 passengers or 150tonnes of cargo apiece, while the other two each have capacity for 1,200 passengers or 1,000tonnes of cargo.