SDB - Seaward Defense Boats
The ships of this class built with low strength mild steel and thin plates had low corrosion tolerance. As such adhering to prescribed docking intervals was essential.
The SDB T 54 was commissioned in September 1982. Its medium refit was due in March 1988 and long refit in April 1992. Ignoring the vulnerability to corrosion of this ship, medium refit was delayed by over three years, which was carried out during July 1991 to April 1992. As a result, long refit could not be planned. However, another short refit including replacement of engine was taken up in December 1993. The short refit was converted into medium refit in February 1994. While carrying out repairs, extensive damage to underwater hull was noticed in March 1994. The medium refit got prolonged up to May 1996 because the engine and other material procured for this ship were diverted for carrying out ongoing repair of another similar (SDBT-55) ship.
Indian Naval Ship SDB T-54 popularly known as 'The Ever Vigilant' was decommissioned at Naval Dockyard, Mumbai on 20 Jan 2006. The ship sailed her last voyage in Dec 05 from her base port at Goa to Mumbai.
Probably known to only a few, the Directorate of Special Operations and Diving (DSOD) at Naval Headquarters (DSOD) had for sometime been contemplating on the idea of sinking a decommissioned naval ship on the western seaboard for creating an underwater habitat. This was aimed at creating an artificial reef for divers and promoting scuba diving as an adventure activity in the country. Such a project was never undertaken by the Indian Navy and certainly the task was not as simple as letting the vessel flood till sinking. The identification of a site, planning, and execution of the project was assigned to the Command Special Operations and Diving (CSOD) Section of the Western Naval Command.
The project for converting 'ships to reefs' involved aspects of ships stability, cleaning of fuel compartments, cutting of the ships hull to make it safe for penetration, ensuring that certain compartments maintain their configuration, and above all controlled blasting, so that underwater explorers could observe the vessel as it was utilized by the ships crew during its commissioned service. Most important, the habitat was to be environmentally safe so that underwater flora and fauna could progressively colonize the vessel.
Early in the morning on 30 Jan 08, the ship totally cleaned out and sanitized from all angles for a perfect embedding, was towed to the site by naval tug 'Madan Singh'. On reaching the designated position, the forward and aft anchors were dropped to moor the vessel. The Clearance Divers from EODT(Mumbai) were the last to board the vessel. They fitted the limpet mines and improvised charges and disembarked. In a scenic area of Binaga beach, with landmarks as the Pakyas Cove, and St Anthony's cross, SDB T-54 has been immortalized as 'DIVERS REEF 54'
|Displacement||203 ton full load|
|Dimensions||37.5 x 7.5 x 1.8 m|
|Range||1400 miles at 14 knots|
|Complement||28 (4 officers)|
|Guns|| 1 x 40 mm Bofors |
1 x 7.62 mm MG
|Depth charges||18 MK 7, 10 MK 12|
|T 54||GRSE||20 Jan 2006|