VESSEL REVIEW | Narmada – New fleet of floating outposts for India’s Border Security Force

Photo: Cochin Shipyard

Indian state-owned shipbuilder Cochin Shipyard (CSL) recently delivered three new vessels to the country’s Border Security Force (BSF).

The vessels are officially designated as floating border outposts (FBOPs) whose primary function is to serve as self-propelled staging bases for the BSF’s smaller patrol boats. As such, the FBOPs are each equipped with launch, recovery, and stowage facilities for up to four small outboard-powered patrol boats on the aft deck as well as hold space for petrol, fresh water, food, and other provisions needed by the boats’ crews. The small boats are launched and recovered using individual davits.

The FBOPs each have a length of 46 metres, a beam of 12 metres, and a displacement of 53,000 tonnes. The vessels can operate for up to 30 days in between port visits for refuelling and resupply. Crew berths and other amenities are also available to support extended deployments.

As the FBOPs have no mounts for defensive weaponry, the front of the superstructure of each vessel is fitted with ballistic protection panels that can withstand hits from small arms fire.

Photo: Cochin Shipyard

The navigation and communication electronics include a Lowrance radar and a KNS satcom.

For propulsion, each vessel relies on two Volvo D13 diesel engines driving Hydromaster 294kW, well-mounted azimuthing propellers.

CSL has already delivered six FBOPs in fulfillment of an order for nine such vessels placed by the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs in early 2019. The first six vessels have been named Ganga, Kaveri, Krishna, Narmada, Sabarmati, and Sutlej after some of the country’s rivers.

The CSL-built FBOPs as well as FBOPs of an earlier design are deployed along the country’s eastern and western maritime borders, particularly in areas that cannot be easily accessed such as the Kutch creeks of Gujarat and the Sundarbans mangroves of West Bengal. The total area that the FBOPs will help protect spans more than 1,400 kilometres of inland waterways.

Design work on the FBOPs was completed by CSL in compliance to Indian Register of Shipping rules.

Photo: Indian Register of Shipping

Click here for more news stories, feature articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s focus on maritime security vessels.

Ganga, Kaveri, Krishna, Narmada, Sabarmati & Sutlej
Type of vessel:Floating border outposts
Classification:Indian Register of Shipping
Owner:Border Security Force, India
Designer:Cochin Shipyard, India
Builder:Cochin Shipyard, India
Length overall:46 metres
Beam:12 metres
Displacement:53,000 tonnes
Main engines:2 x Volvo D13
Propulsion:2 x Hydromaster propellers, each 294 kW
Other equipment installed:4 x boat davits; ballistic protection panels
Type of fuel:Diesel
Operational areas:Eastern and western India

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