The collapse of a giant crane at State-run Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) a fortnight ago could pose a risk to its ongoing contracts and the ability to take up new orders, most of which are funded by the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard.
On April 17, a ‘Goliath’ crane of 250-tonne capacity collapsed due to heavy winds of 100 kmph at GRSE’s main works unit in Kolkata. There were no casualties. The incident has been kept under wraps by the company management as it comes days after GRSE filed papers with markets regulator SEBI to sell shares in an Initial Public Offering (IPO).
The collapsed crane, according to a shipbuilding expert, is damaged and will have to be written off. The structure has blocked the dry dock and the building berth gates.
The module hall where blocks for the P 17-A class frigates are being fabricated was destroyed in the mishap and has become unusable. “This has a direct impact on the P 17-A frigates-building programme. A large store adjoining the building berth has been damaged and is now unusable, further impacting the work at the shipyard. A new Goliath crane has a time-period of 30 months from issue of tender to installation and commissioning. Thus, not only will the ongoing programmes suffer, but this will also impact the contract under negotiation with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for anti-submarine warfare shallow water crafts,” said the expert, who has knowledge of the incident.
This could not be independently verified by BusinessLine .
The company, according to sources, has ordered an internal enquiry to establish the cause of accident and fix responsibility.
GRSE could not be reached for comment immediately as its office was closed on Labour Day.
“It will impact production, but it will not stop it because they can get mobile cranes and smaller cranes,” said a shipbuilding executive. “It is always more efficient to build vessels in bigger blocks with Goliath cranes that are used to move bigger blocks or join bigger blocks. If this is gone, then they will have to rely on smaller cranes and instead of 200-ton blocks they will have to make 50-tonne or 100-ton blocks. The yard will not grind to a halt, but productivity will come down,” he added.
“Whatever data is available in the media, that is amply covered,” a GRSE official said, abruptly ending a phone call made by BusinessLine .
GRSE, a Miniratna company controlled by the MoD, has orders worth ₹208,033.60 million. As much as 98.63 per cent of shipbuilding orders are from the Indian Navy and 1.37 per cent from the Coast Guard. Of engineering orders, 13.28 per cent are from the Indian Navy. In the engine division, 75.22 per cent and 5.41 per cent comprises orders from the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard respectively. The data was obtained from IPO papers filed by GRSE with SEBI.
The order book includes firm contracts for manufacturing and delivery of fourteen ships comprising one anti-submarine warfare corvette, five landing craft utilities, five fast patrol vessels and three P17-A class frigates.
GRSE has also been declared the lowest or second-lowest bidder for other projects, for which contracts have not yet been signed, including construction and delivery of four survey vessels for the MoD and eight anti-submarine warfare shallow water craft for the Indian Navy.
GRSE has three core shipbuilding facilities, two engineering units and a diesel engine plant.