Accident at PSU ship-builder GRSE hits operations, company says work not affected

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Kolkata/New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) With an accident seriously affecting operations at the state-run Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) — which builds ships for the Indian Navy — the company has launched “an assessment study” to map the extent of damage and has roped in an independent agency to ascertain the reason for the mishap.

The accident, which occurred almost a fortnight back on April 17 and had been kept under wraps, saw the collapse of a 250-tonne Goliath crane at the GRSE unit here.

Sources aware of the accident claimed the collapsed crane was “beyond repair” and would need to be written-off. They also contended the damage to the shipyard’s assets had put its ongoing programmes at risk and would affect its ability to undertake new programmes.

Among the ongoing programmes is the P17 A, under which GRSE is building frigates for the Indian Navy.

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The ship-maker has, however, said that alternative arrangements were being worked out to continue with its ship-building activities. It also said there were no injuries to any of its personnel as the accident took place during “silent hours”.

“On April 17, at about 8 p.m., a cyclone hit Kolkata resulting in the collapse of a 250-tonne Goliath crane at one of GRSE’s units. The collapse resulted in damage to two workshops — a module hall and a store complex. Some minor damage also occurred in the dry dock and inclined berth,” a GRSE spokesperson told IANS.

“Work on the affected assets and infrastructure has been taken up on a war footing to resume ship-building activities… some of the activities got affected, but various strategies and alternative arrangements have been worked out to continue with ship-building activities,” he said.

According to the sources, the accident involved the collapse of the 250-tonne capacity crane, a 47-metre lift covering the module hall, a dry dock and the inclined berth at GRSE.

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The public sector undertaking, which comes under the Ministry of Defence, said the ships under construction have not suffered any damage due to the accident.

“There has been no damage to the ships which were under construction at the new dry dock and inclined berth (two facilities where the ships are being built),” the spokesperson said.

According to him, there was also “no damages to LCU (Landing Craft Utility) vessel”, which is one of the crafts being built by the central PSU for the Indian Navy. “Two fast patrol vessels at the inclined berth have not suffered any damage,” he added.

The spokesperson said the ship-maker informed the Ministry of Defence, the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard about the accident.

“We are carrying out an assessment of the damage to our infrastructure and assets so as to ascertain the cost and time implication towards capability restoration of our assets. We have also sought opinion of an independent agency like IRS (Indian Register of Shipping) to assess possible reasons leading to collapse of the crane,” he told IANS.

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The sources, however, said the damage to the module hall — which they described as unusable — would impact the P17 A programme.

They also claimed that as a new Goliath crane would take at least 30 months from issue of tender to installation and commissioning, its collapse would impact not only ongoing programmes but also contracts that are under negotiation.

Asked whether accident could pose any risks to the P17 A programme, the GRSE spokesperson said: “With regard to the ongoing P17 A programme, broadly, there was no stoppage of operations. Works are going on.”

–IANS

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