Shri Sarbananda Sonowal dedicates first-ever Made-in-India ASTDS tug


Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister of MoPSW & AYUSH inaugurated the 60T bollard pull tug named ‘Ocean Grace’ and the Medical Mobile Unit (MMU), virtually on 2nd March, 2024. The Ocean Grace is the first make in India ASTDS Tug developed by the Cochin Shipyard Limited under MoPSW. The Medical Mobile Unit (MMU) is part of port’s commitment to corporate social responsibility.  This initiative highlights ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative of PM Modi. The event was attended virtually by dignitaries namely Shri Shripad Naik, Union MoS of MoPSW and Tourism; Shri Shantanu Thakur, Union MoS of MoPSW; Shri T.K. Ramachandran, Secretary, MoPSW and others.

During the event Shri Sarbananda Sonowal said, ‘Paradip Port stands as a shining example of progress and growth. With each passing year, it sets new benchmarks in EXIM traffic management, symbolizing Ministry’s commitment to efficiency and excellence. ‘

‘Under the visionary leadership of PM Modi, MoPSW is making efforts to fulfil Atmanirbhar Bharat initiatives. The ‘Ocean Grace’ built at a cost of Rs. 45 crores, stands as a pinnacle of maritime engineering, equipped with cutting-edge technology and boasting a remarkable bollard pull of 60 tonnes. Its imminent inauguration heralds a significant leap forward in our pursuit of maritime infrastructure excellence, promising years of uninterrupted and flawless port operations ahead’, added Shri Sonowal.

The first ASTDS tug is powered by NIGATA main engines and a Power Z-Peller ZP Propulsion engine, this tug is meticulously designed for optimal efficiency and reliability, guaranteeing seamless navigation and proficient vessel assistance, especially for large vessels like VLCCs and ULCCs.

The goal of the Green Tug Transition Programme (GTTP) is to convert at least 50% of all tugs into Green Tugs by 2030 and to have Green Tugs operating at all major ports. JNPA, DPA, PPA, and VoCPA will purchase two brand-new green tugs (battery-electric powered) from Cochin Shipyard by 2027 as part of the first phase. Today, PPA fulfilled the vision by coming up with India’s first ASTDS Tug.  By implementing measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, domestic/short sea shipping ferries, port vessels (tugs/crafts/dredgers), and OSVs/PSVs aim to achieve a remarkable reduction of 50% by 2030 to 70% by 2047.

Under the Maritime Amrit Kaal Vision 2047, in the coming years’ the Decarbonisation Cell is set to pioneer the development of cutting-edge technology vessels, initiating pilot runs across various categories. This ambitious initiative includes the introduction of five electric water taxis, two hybrid electric Ro-Ro ferries, and two hybrid LNG electric cargo carriers. Furthermore, the plan entails deploying a hybrid tug at JNPA, along with three dual-fuel container Ro-Ro ferries. The endeavour extends to incorporating green hydrogen and ammonia-powered tugs at four major ports. Additionally, the vision encompasses the deployment of a green hydrogen or ammonia-propelled coastal cargo bulk carrier, along with an offshore vessel, showcasing a dedicated commitment towards sustainable maritime practices and environmental stewardship.

In the state of Odisha, the Sagarmala Programme has been instrumental in driving significant infrastructural development along its coastal areas. Currently, 53 projects valued at approximately Rs. 54,500 Cr are being monitored, with 21 projects already completed, amounting to Rs. 12,700 Cr. An additional 32 projects, valued at Rs. 41,800 Cr, are in various stages of implementation. Notably, 7 projects, partially funded by MoPSW, are underway, with one completed and six in progress. Furthermore, under the Holistic Development of Coastal Districts initiative, nine projects, totalling Rs. 157 Cr, have been identified, focusing on fisheries, skill development, tourism, and urban water transportation. Ongoing endeavours include the transformation of the Paradip fishing harbour into a world-class facility, with a budget of Rs. 108 Cr, and the up skilling of 2860 candidates through the Skill Development Program – Phase II. Looking ahead, upcoming projects aim to uplift the fishermen community by establishing a fishing harbour at Chandipur and improving ferry services between Satapada and Jahnikuda, with a focus on enhancing local connectivity and preserving ecological balance amidst climate change challenges.

Paradip Port significantly contributes to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, encompassing education, environment, healthcare, sanitation, electricity, sports, and culture. The inauguration of the Medical Mobile Unit (MMU) exemplifies this commitment. Costing around Rs 48LPA to operate, the MMU reflects the port’s dedication to providing accessible healthcare to underprivileged communities nearby. Staffed with skilled medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, technicians, and pharmacists, the MMU offers various services like maternal and paediatric care, disease management, and health awareness programs. Its mobility ensures healthcare reaches those in need across Paradip and its surrounding areas.

It is noteworthy that Paradip Port’s expansion is at centre stage now. The Western Dock project worth Rs 3,004.63 crore is a crucial step towards enhancing its capacity to over 300MTPA in next two years. The project encompasses the creation of a new dock, equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure and handling facilities, tailored to accommodate various dry bulk cargoes. Moreover, the project includes deepening the inner harbour to accommodate Cape vessels, necessitating draft depths of up to 18 meters.  The project involves deepening and optimization of inner harbour facilities including development of western dock on build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode at Paradip Port.