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J 18 Sandhayak Class

Hydrographic surveys play an important role in the exploration process of the marine resources. The maritime transport routes including the traffic separation schemes and deep water routes are required to be adequately surveyed before they can be indicated on navigational charts. The UN conference on `Law of the Sea' have provisions for the coastal states to claim Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) upto 200 nautical miles and more, subject to their carrying out hydrographic/geophysical survey and submitting its claim to the UN commission.

All these ships are built indigenously by the Indian ship-building yards in Kolkata and Goa. The Southern Command has two of these survey ships based at Kochi namely INS Sutlej and INS Jamuna. Besides carrying out their primary role of hydrographic survey as allotted by the Chief Hydrographer, they also assist in times of war and natural calamities. The ships are fitted with state-of-the-art survey equipment. INS Jamuna was closely associated in the relief operations in the wake of the Gujarat earthquake. During 1994-95, these ships undertook survey for the Sultanate of Oman earning Rs 18.2 crore in foreign exchange. These survey ships have also provided extensive survey assistance to Indonesia and Mauritius in the past.

In mid-2000 INS Sarvekshak built by Goa Shipyard Limited was commissioned in the Indian Navy at Kochi by Mr Ved Prakash Goyal, Minister of Shipping. The ship is ninth in the series of the Navy's hydrographic survey fleet which reflects the technological advancement of Indian shipbuilding industry. The indigenously designed and constructed INS Sarvekshak has superior design features and is equipped with the latest survey and hydrographic equipment, machinery, navigational and communication aids and sensors. These are ideally designed to meet the stringent international/ISC 9002 digital survey accuracy standards in shallow and deep waters required for the production of electronic navigational charts and publications in a highly competitive hydrographic world. This further reinforces the Navy's sustained commitment to indigenisation. Powered by two diesel engines which deliver 2,400 BHP each, the ship has a top speed of 16 knots. Equipped with state-of-the-art hydrographic survey aids, the ship can undertake full-scale coastal and oceanic hydrographic survey of ports and harbours and collection of oceanographic and geophysical data.

The hydrographic survey vessel Darshak, built by Goa Shipyard Ltd for the Indian Navy, was commissioned into the Naval service at Visakhapatnam in mid-2001. This ship is the eighth vessel in the series of Navy's hydrographic survey vessels which have all been indigenously designed and constructed. Incidentally, the first indigenously built survey ship of the Navy inducted in 1964 was also named as INS Darshak which was ultimately decommissioned in 1990 after a quarter century of illustrious service in the Navy.

The new Darshak has been built with superior design features and equipped with a range of the latest surveying, navigational and communication systems. The new generation surveying systems provided onboard include the multibeam swath echo sounding system, differential global positioning system, motion sensors, sea gravimeter, magnetometer oceanographic sensors, side scan sonars and an automated data logging system. These are ideally designed to meet the stringent international/ISO 9002 digital survey accuracy standards required for the production of electronic navigation charts and publications in a highly competitive hydrographic world.

The Darshak is powered by two diesel engines which make her a virtual work-house, capable of sustained speeds. The ship's multi-role capability places her in the league of the most versatile survey vessels of the world. It can undertake a variety of tasks under trying conditions.

INS Darshak, a hydrographic survey ship of the Eastern Naval Command, unearthed submerged wrecks of Tamil Nadu which have a great historical significance. The 2004 exploration was a part of the endeavours of the Naval Headquarters to obtain more authentic knowledge in maritime history. The project for exploring the submerged remains of the lost city of Poompuhar in Tamil Nadu was tasked to INS Darshak.

The naval ship, commanded by Capt P Jayapal, was deployed off Poompuhar, about 15 nautical miles north of Nagapattinam. The ship carried out an extensive hydrographic survey and diving operations in the area off Tharangambadi (formerly known as Tranquebar) coast. During the operations that lasted for nearly a month, the ship recovered a few prominent objects of archaelogical importance. A 'U' shaped structure, located three miles into the sea at a depth of 23 metres, was discovered during one of the dives. The structure was 85 metres in peripheral length and about two metres in height while the distance between the arms was about 13 metres. The structure was covered with marine growth and the centre was buried under silt. Local fishermen claimed that the structure was one of the six such structures submerged under water.

Darshak also recovered a shipwreck supposed to be of a Dutch ship sunk by the French during the end of 18th century. As a result of diving over the structure, three lead ingots, about one-metre long and weighing approximately 80 kg each, were recovered. They were marked with W. Blackett which was the name of a British company and the marking 1792 was presumably the date of their manufacture. Moreover, the ingots carried an inscription 'Vior' in a heart shape which was the emblem of the Dutch East India Company.

The naval divers carried out extensive diving at the site and identified a two-metre long cannon deeply embedded in the seabed which was fastened to a structure on the wreck. The ship's diving team executed a daring manoeuvre on top of the wreck and hauled out the cannon from the seabed. This operation was a very difficult task compounded by adverse sea conditions. It was a test of the efficiency and skill of the staff as the ship was not equipped to carry out excavations of such nature. The cannon, which was covered with extensive marine growth, was 2.1 metres in length and weighed approximately 700 kg.

INS Nirdeshak set sail for Mauritius for a hydrographic survey mission on 17 Mar 10. The ship operated in Mauritian waters for about four weeks. The deployment of INS Nirdeshak was in accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Mauritian government. During the last four years about ten hydrographic surveys have been conducted by the Indian Navy in Mauritian waters. Some of the important surveys undertaken include those for Mauritian capital Port Louis harbour, Port Mathurin in Rodrigues Island, Carajos Cargados Shoals and Agalega Island. It is noteworthy that before the survey by the Indian Navy, Agalega was last surveyed over 100 years ago.

In addition to hydrographic survey of important ports, harbours and designated sea areas around the islands, the MoU encompasses training of Mauritian hydrographic personnel at National Institute of Hydrography at Goa and provision of expertise for setting up of a hydrographic infrastructure at Mauritius. As a result of the sustained hydrographic assistance, four navigational charts of Mauritian waters had been produced and handed over. This is likely to give a boost to their sea trade. The survey will also be assisting land based ocean industries being set up in Mauritius. This survey also included collection of supporting data for the continental shelf claims of Mauritius. Surveys related to the development of the tourism industry in the islands are also conducted.

The regular presence of Indian Naval survey ships in Mauritius has generated a swell of goodwill and further reinforced the strong links between the two countries. The crew of the survey ships have not only been involved in surveying unchartered waters but have also endeared themselves to the local populace by participating in community building exercises during their short visits to the harbour, providing assistance in reaching supplies to far flung islands and acting as goodwill ambassadors. Indian Naval Ship Nirdeshak was the last ship to visit Mauritius during March - April 2009. On her return passage to India the ship was diverted to Seychelles to demonstrate Indian Naval presence and to deter piracy in the region. During her deployment off Seychelles the ship was involved in the successful capture of nine pirates in an operation which was coordinated with Spanish frigate Numancia.

INS Nirdeshak, a hydrographic vessel of the Indian Navy, was decommissioned on 19 December 2014 at the Karwar naval base after 31 years of dedicated service to the country. Vice Admiral S K Jha, Chief Hydrographer to the Govt of India was the chief guest on the occasion. INS Nirdeshak is the second of the Sandhayak class of survey ships. It was commissioned into the Indian Navy on October 4, 1983 at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd, Kolkata. The first commanding officer of the ship was Commander KR Srinivasan, who later went on to become the Chief Hydrographer to the Govt of India. Nirdeshak had undertaken numerous Indian and foreign hydrographic survey operations to prepare navigational charts for mariners. It had also assisted numerous wreck investigations of sunken ships and been a participant in Disaster Relief Operations during an earthquake at Kandla and tsunami in Sri Lanka.

DisplacementFull - 1929
Length 87.8 m
Beam 12.8 m
Draft 3.3 m
Speed 16 kts
Range 6000 miles @ 14 knots
14,000 miles @ 10 knots
Armament 1 x 40 mm Bofors
Aircraft 1 x Chetak
Crew18 (officers)
160 (enlisted)

Name Number Homeport Builder Ordered Comm Decomm
Sandhayak J 18 Bombay 26 Feb 81
Nirdeshak J 19 Bombay 4 Oct 82 19 Dec 2014
Nirupak J 14 Bombay 14 Aug 85
Investigator J 15 Bombay 11 Jan 90
Jamuna J 16 Bombay 31 Aug 91
Sutlej J 17 Bombay 19 Feb 1993
Darshak J20 Bombay 28 Apr 2001
Sarvekshak J22 Bombay 14 Jan 2002

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Page last modified: 04-11-2018 17:47:30 ZULU