New Delhi: Miniratna Defence PSU Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) has achieved another milestone in defence export by launching Ocean Going Passenger and Cargo Ferry Vessel for the Co-operative Republic of Guyana. Joan Anita Edghill performed the rituals associated with the launch of the 70-metre-long vessel ‘MV Ma Lisha.’ Edghill appeared well at ease as she performed the traditional “breaking of coconut” on the vessel’s keel with chanting of mantras in the background.
Edghill is the spouse of Bishop Juan Anthony Edghill, Minister of Public Works, the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, who was the Chief Guest at the launch ceremony. With this launching, yet another feather was added to GRSE’s cap, as it became the first shipyard in India to have designed and launched a ship for the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, a Latin American Country.
The other dignitaries present at the occasion were GRSE’s Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Cmde PR Hari IN (Retd), High Commissioner of Cooperative Republic of Guyana Charrandass Persaud, GRSE’s Director (Finance) RK Dash, Director (Shipbuilding) Cdr S Bose IN (Retd), Chairperson of Transport and Harbours Department Board of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana Rosalinda Rasul, Ministry of Public Works of Guyana Patrick Thompson, Chief Transport Planning Officer and senior officials from Indian Armed Forces, GRSE and TWL.
GRSE participated in the Ferry’s Tender Process, bagging the US$ 12.73 million contract through competitive bidding. The Government stepped in to fund the vessel through a grant and a line of credit to the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. GRSE signed the contract on January 13, 2021, and despite challenges posed by the pandemic, has succeeded in launching this ferry less than seven months after its keel was laid.
In his address, Cmde Hari acknowledged the role of the Indian High Commission in Guyana in ensuring the fructification of this prestigious project. He went on to explain how this ship, propelled by two diesel engines will be able to accommodate 294 passengers (including 14 crew members), 14 cars, 2 trucks, 14 containers and other cargo and transport them at speeds up to 15 knots.
For GRSE it has been a labour of love to build this vessel, given the fact that over 40 percent of the population in the Cooperative Republic of Guyana are of Indian origin. Some of the workmen who are helping in building the vessel may even belong to villages in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh from where people migrated to Guyana. Whilst complimenting the team for achieving the ‘launch’ milestone ahead of schedule, he expressed confidence that the ship shall be delivered on schedule to meet the expectations of the people of Guyana and will foster friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
Bishop Edghill, surprised the audience as he commenced his address by greeting the audience in ‘Bhojpuri’ and highlighting the similarities between the people of India and Guyana. He also highlighted that both countries were a land of many rivers and spoke on the importance of this vessel in his country’s northwest sector which has a lot of movement along riverine and coastal routes. He stated that the name “Ma Lisha” means friendship and has been chosen to symbolise the great bonds of friendship between Guyana and India. MV Ma Lisha, once completed and delivered will be the largest of all vessels operating there.
Its speed will also cut down the travel time by half. He acknowledged the efforts of GRSE in progressing ship production during the tough pandemic times towards achieving this major milestone.
The Minister also spoke on how May 5, the day when the SS Whitby docked at Highbury, is still celebrated as Indian Arrival Day at Guyana. He spoke on how people of Indian origin have adopted the country as their own and worked towards its development, whilst continuing to hold on to their culture and beliefs. Festivals like Diwali and Holi are public holidays in Guyana.
Both Cmde Hari and Bishop Edghill said that this collaboration would herald in better ties between the two nations.
(PSU Watch– India’s Business News centre that places the spotlight on PSUs, Bureaucracy, Defence and Public Policy is now on Google News. Click here to follow. Also, join PSU Watch Channel in your Telegram. You may also follow us on Twitter here and stay updated.)