For the first time in Indian maritime history, a ship designed and built in India by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd. Kolkata, reached the Guyanese port of Georgetown on 6th April, completing a journey of over 11500 nautical miles. MV Ma Lisha is a modern Ocean-going Passenger-cum-Cargo Ferry that will operate from Georgetown to the North West District of the Caribbean nation. The 70-metre-long Ferry, built in accordance with international standards, is capable of a speed of 15 knots and will cut the travel time between Georgetown and the North West District by nearly half. It is designed to carry a load of 250 tonnes that will include 294 passengers, 14 cars, two fully-loaded trucks and 10 containers. It also has a refrigerated area to carry perishables.
The MV Ma Lisha was built under a US$ 12.77 million Grant/Line of Credit from the Government of India to the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. After signing the contract in 2021, GRSE completed the design and construction of the vessel followed by ‘Technical Acceptance’ within 23 months despite the Covid-19 pandemic. On January 12, 2023, Cmde P R Hari, Chairman and Managing Director, GRSE, flagged off MV ‘Ma Lisha’ from GRSE, Kolkata.
In a first of its kind ‘Float on- Float off’ operation at Chennai Port, MV ‘Ma Lisha’ was loaded on to the semi-submersible vessel MV ‘Sun Rise’ on 23 Jan 23. MV ‘Sun Rise’ made its transatlantic voyage to reach the ‘Chaguaramas’ port in Trinidad on 02 Apr 23. The MV Ma Lisha was unloaded from the ship a day later and set sail for Georgetown, Guyana. On this journey, along with three crew members from GRSE, the ship had a 14-member Guyanese crew on board led by veteran mariner Captain Courtney McDonald, director of maritime safety at the Maritime Administration Department of Cooperative Republic of Guyana.
MV ‘Ma Lisha’ will be formally delivered to Guyanese authorities at a befitting ceremony to be held at Georgetown later this month adding yet another feather to the cap of GRSE, one of India’s leading Shipbuilders. Senior officials from the Government of India and GRSE are expected to be present during the formal handing-over ceremony. This will mark the start of a new era of friendship between India and the Caribbean nation, nearly 40% of whose population is of Indian origin – part of the great Indian Diaspora spread across the world. Coincidentally, the origin of Indians in Guyana can be traced back to the city of Kolkata, India way back in 1838.
The journey of Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd., a premier Warship building Company in India, under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defence, a PCMM Level-2 Certified Company, dates back to 1884. The Company was taken over by the Government of India in 1960. First shipyard of independent India to build a Seaward Defence Boat (SDB) INS Ajay for Indian Navy in 1961, GRSE also built the first ever Indian Export Warship “CGS Barracuda”. The shipyard was conferred the status of a Miniratna Category I Company in 2006. Over last 63 years, GRSE has built 789 platforms including 108 warships for Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard, and Government of Mauritius & Seychelles Coast Guard – highest warships built & delivered by any Indian shipyard till date. From Frigates, Corvettes, Fleet Tankers, Landing Ship Tank, Landing Craft Utility to Survey Vessels, Offshore Patrol Vessels and Fast Attack Craft – the repertoire is rich and varied. In addition to ship building, GRSE is also engaged in engine production and other engineering activities. The engineering division manufactures deck machinery items, pre-fabricated portable steel bridges and marine pumps. Noteworthy accolades include Raksha Mantri Award 2022 in Designing the most silent ship for Indian Navy for ASW operation, Defence Minister’s Award for Excellence for In-house Design Effort for Offshore Patrol Vessel for Government of Mauritius, CGS Barracuda, Best Performing Defence Shipyard of India for Four Years in a row. GRSE embraced infrastructure modernization over past decades and delightful impact was perceived in the concurrent construction of 20 ships at a time. Team of highly skilled design engineers and state of art VR Lab & latest software cater to the in-house design capabilities. With proven credentials, the shipyard is on a growth path, reaffirming its motto “In Pursuit of Excellence and Quality in Shipbuilding.