Mauritius receives Indian offshore patrol vessel


India’s Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) have handed over to Mauritius a 1 300 tonne offshore patrol vessel, three years after it was ordered to ensure maritime security around the island nation.

The CGS Barracuda was handed over in the port city of Kolkata on 20 December, several months later than planned. It was ordered in March 2011 for $58.5 million and had its keel laid in April 2013, with launch taking place that August. Successful sea trials were concluded in November 2014, when the vessel demonstrated a top speed of 22.5 knots (42 km/h) against the requirement of 20 knots (37 km/h).
“This would be the first among the long line of ships that we hope to export to various parts of the world,” Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh said during the handover ceremony. He added that India has received an order for two offshore patrol vessels from Sri Lanka and these are under construction in Goa Shipyard. “I think the country can feel proud that the ship-building industry has come of age,” Singh said.

The vessel is the first newly built warship to be exported by an Indian shipyard (India has sold used vessels to countries in the past and donated smaller naval vessels). The Asian nation is actively pursuing further naval sales across the world as it attempts to increase defence exports.

The CGS Barracuda is based on the Kora class corvettes built for the Indian Navy by state-owned GRSE. The 74.1 metre long vessel has a crew of 83. Range is approximately 5 000 nautical miles at maximum speed. She is powered by two MTU 16V 4000 M53 diesel engines rated at 1 840 kW, each driving two controllable pitch propellers through ZF Marine gearboxes.

Barracuda will patrol Mauritius’s vast exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which covers 1.9 million square kilometres. Her main tasks will be combating piracy, smuggling, illegal fishing and drug trafficking but the vessel will also participate in search and rescue exercises, control pollution and transport cargo.

India and Mauritius have enjoyed good political, economic and military relations. Indian navy vessels often patrol Mauritian waters and India has provided military hardware to the country, such as an HAL Dhruv light utility helicopter and two Do 228 maritime surveillance aircraft.