RAdm (Retd) Vineet Bakhshi, VSM, chairman and managing director, Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) speaks to Hindustan Times on the driving spirit behind the creditable growth trajectory of the country’s youngest defence shipyard. Excerpts:
What is GSL’s product line in terms of its in-house design and shipbuilding capabilities?
There are 21 fast patrol vessels (FPVs), and offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) designed and built by GSL in service with the Indian Coast Guard. One 90M OPV for coast guard is under construction and will be delivered in 2012. There are over 50 ships and vessels built by GSL in service with the Indian Navy and Coast Guard. The second sail training ship, INS Sudarshini was recently delivered to the Indian Navy. In addition, work has also started on the in-house design of a shallow water anti submarine warfare craft for the Indian Navy as GSL has the in-house design capability to fully design and deliver such vessels indigenously.
Recently, phases I and II of GSL’s modernisation project were commissioned. How does GSL envisage its future growth and development?
Commissioning of phases I and II of GSL’s modernisation project marks the implementation of a systematic and planned modernisation programme designed to enhance technology and infrastructure so as to facilitate speedy, smooth and efficient execution of larger and more sophisticated projects. Phases III and IV of the modernisation project, currently under execution, are additional phases of the modernisation plan, in which the company will build ships using modular techniques, which would reduce the build period even further.
GSL has been honoured again with Raksha Mantri’s award for excellence...
It is indeed gratifying that GSL has been bestowed with the awards for Best Performing Shipyard and Design Effort. At GSL, we look upon this as recognition of the company’s inherent spirit of enterprise, resourcefulness and commitment to customer satisfaction.
How has been the journey from a modest barge repairer to a sophisticated shipbuilder?
GSL was originally established by the Portuguese in 1957, as a small barge repair facility, under the name Estalerios Navais De Goa. In March 2007, the government conferred the status of Mini Ratna, Category-I to GSL. Initially, GSL undertook ship repairs, built small barges and fishing trawlers. Over the years, GSL developed its skill set and started to undertake more sophisticated ship construction and ship repair activity. Our customers, principally the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard have consistently reposed their faith in our abilities, which has given us the impetus to constantly innovate and progress.
How is GSL ensuring optimum utilisation of its resources?
While making consistent progress in its core competency in the shipbuilding arena, the Yard has also utilised its technical and managerial capabilities to successfully diversify into new areas of products which include the design and construction of training simulators for the Indian Navy and ONGC, setting up of shore based test facility for Light Combat Aircraft (N) for Aeronautical Development Agency, Bangalore and recent venture into construction of Glass Reinforced Plastic boats for the ministry of home affairs.