Paris-Le Bourget: Italian state-owned shipbuilder Fincantieri has announced it has received an order for a fleet tanker from the Indian Navy. The announcement was made at the international Euronaval exhibition currently in progress at Paris-Le Bourget.
Euronaval is the most important trade fair for defence industries globally.
Fincantieri said this is the first order for a surface vessel that the Indian Navy has awarded to a non-Russian or South Korean shipyard. It said it competed against leading international players for the order, particularly those from Russia and Korea.
The vessel, which will be built at its shipyards in Liguria, will be readied for delivery by the end of 2010.
The tanker will have a displacement at full load of 27,500 tonnes and will have a length of 175 metres, a width of 25 metres and height of 19 metres. It will be powered by two 10,000 KW diesel engines which will provide it a maximum speed of 20 knots. Its propulsion system will also feature an adjustable blade propeller.
The tanker will also carry a flight deck which will handle medium-heavy helicopters (up to 10 tons). It would take 248 passengers, crew and supplementary personnel onboard.
Equipped with double hatches, the vessel will also be capable of servicing 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 the type to be built with a double hull, which would offer improved protection to the fuel tanks and cut down on the risk of pollution in case of collision or damage.
Previously, 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.
Additionally, the company entered into two contracts with the country's Cochin shipyard for engine design, technology transfer and provision of complementary services for the construction of the Indian Navy's Air Defence Ship (ADS).
Work at the Cochin shipyard is about to commence shortly to absorb the design and details of the propulsion system for the ADS.
Fincantieri has said it will set up a permanent, representative office in New Delhi in order to better service the Indian market.
Commenting on the order, Fincantieri CEO, Giuseppe Bono, 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.''
Fincantieri said that along with three other yards it had recently entered the final stage of the tendering process for the British MARS (Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability) programme, which involves construction of six fleet replenishment tankers for the Royal Navy.