On the occasion of the international exhibition Euronaval – the most important trade fair for the defence industries currently in progress in Paris-Le Bourget – Fincantieri has announced the company has gained an order to build a fleet tanker for the Indian Navy. Following previous orders to Russian industries, this is the first order for a surface vessel for which India has chosen a foreign company, Fincantieri, which competed to win the order against leading international players, especially from Russia and Korea. The vessel, which will be built at the shipyards in Liguria, for delivery at the end of 2010, will be 175 metres long, 25 wide and 19 high and will have a displacement at full load of 27,500 tonnes. The ship will be powered by two 10,000 kW diesel engines which will enable it to reach a maximum speed of 20 knots and its propulsion system will feature an adjustable blade propeller. There will also be a flight deck on board for medium-heavy helicopters (up to 10 tons). The ship will accommodate up to 248 passengers – crew and supplementary personnel.
Equipped with double hatches, the vessel will be able to service four ships at the same time.
In accordance with the new Marpol regulations of the International Maritime Organization concerning the protection of the environment, this will be the first ship of this type to be built with a double hull thereby improving protection of the fuel tanks and avoiding the risk of pollution in case of collision or damage. Fincantieri has already built the “Sagar Nidhi” for India, an oceanographic vessel for the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) in Madras which was delivered at the end of 2007. In addition, in 2004 the company drew up two contracts with Cochin shipyard regarding the design of the engine, technology transfer and the provision of complementary services for the construction of the Air Defence Ship (ADS); activities are also in the process of being finalized for the sharing of the functional design and details of the propulsion system. The assistance stage at the Indian shipyard is about to start up shortly.
In order to better service the Indian area, Fincantieri has set up a permanent, representative office in New Delhi. Commenting on the order, Giuseppe Bono, Fincantieri C.E.O., said: “This further, important order confirms that the Indian market is strategic for our company, as it should be seen within the framework of a process of growing internationalization of our activities and a return to the military export market.”
In view of the experience Fincantieri has gained in the construction of this vessel type, both for the Italian Navy and for a number of foreign navies, the company has recently been admitted, together with another three yards, to the final stage of the tender for the high prestige British programme MARS (Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability), which involves the construction of six fleet replenishment tankers for the Royal Navy. In view of such a significant order, and to consolidate its presence on the British market, Fincantieri has recently formed an alliance with NSL (Northwestern Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders Ltd), a British yard specialized in ship repair, conversion and military refit.
NSL has built some of the Royal Navy's finest vessels including HMS Ark Royal along with the first guided missile destroyer and a number of submarines, and is today a prime contractor to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Service.