With an aim to save costs on maintenance and operations while also enhancing the value of the marine fleet through innovative, reliable and cost-effective methods, the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has entered a contract agreement with a private firm for its six research ships, it was announced on Wednesday.
The contract — for approximately Rs 142 crore for a three-year period — has been signed for Sagar Nidhi, Sagar Manjusha, Sagar Anveshika, and Sagar Tara (all managed by the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai; Sagar Kanya (managed by National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Goa), and Sagar Sampada (managed by the Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology (CMLRE), Kochi.
These research ships are the backbone for technology demonstration and oceanic research and observations in the country and have contributed significantly in enhancing the knowledge about our oceans and ocean-based resources.
The Ministry of Earth Sciences is extending research ships as a national facility to other research institutes and organizations such as ISRO, PRL, NGRI, Anna University, etc.
“A significant feature of this contract is the substantial year-wise saving achieved by the Ministry in the operation and maintenance charges of the Ministry of Earth Sciences’ research ships and the hi-tech scientific equipment / laboratories on board. It will include running, manning, maintenance (including maintenance and operation of scientific equipment), catering, and housekeeping of all these six research ships,” the Ministry said in a statement.
The contract was signed in the presence of Dr. M. Ravichandran, MoES Secretary, and ABS Marine Services Pvt Ltd, Chennai.
“The company would be the single point of contact for all ship-related modalities, unlike the present agreements, which MoES has with multiple agencies. This is in line with the government’s Ease of Doing Business initiatives and involvement of the private sector in government contracts,” said an official of the Ministry.