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Port Blair

After China's attack in October-November 1962, the responsibility for the seaward defence of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands was assigned to the Navy. The first Resident Naval Officer arrived Port Blair in November 1962. In mid 1963, the first Naval Garrison of five officers and one hundred and fifty six sailors arrived in Port Blair. Until the Navy's Seaward Defence Boats arrived, sea patrols and inter-island transportation were supported by craft of the Central Board of Revenue. Soon, the need was felt for a maintenance and repair facility to sustain these small craft which were operating so far away from the nearest BRO at Visakhapatnam.

In 1964, INS JARAWA was commissioned as the parent establishment at Port Blair. In 1965, the detailed, phased requirements of machinery, personnel, buildings and shore supply facilities for setting up a BRO were included in the overall plan for setting up an advance naval base at Port Blair. This plan envisaged the construction of a 1200 foot wharf, half of which would be for naval use.

After the 1965 war, Landing ship MAGAR started being deployed in the A&N Islands.

In 1966, approval in principle was accorded for setting up a BRO and berthing facilities in three phases. From 1966 onwards, when the newly arrived Russian patrol boats and the Landing ships started operating in the islands, the urgency increased for providing some kind of repair facility at Port Blair. From 1967 onwards, MAGAR took over the role of logistic support for these Russian vessels.

In 1967, sanction was accorded for the construction of the new wharf. Construction commenced in 1968.

In 1969, the old stores ship, DHARINI, which had earlier been converted into a repair ship by equipping her with a workshop, machine tools and repair materials to support the coastal minesweepers, was positioned in Port Blair as an afloat maintenance facility. The arrangement did not prove satisfactory and DHARINI returned to Bombay.

By 1973, it was found that intrusions were occurring mainly in the southern group of the Nicobar Islands and were easier to deal with when ships operated from the island of Kamorta. In 1973, a forward operating base was commissioned as INS KARDIP on the island of Kamorta and patrol craft started operating from there. Soon, it became necessary to set up a SMU in Kamorta.

In 1974, sanction was accorded for establishing a BRO to provide comprehensive repair facilities to ships operating in the A&N islands. This organisation was subsequently commissioned in 1979. As an interim measure, a small Base Maintenance Unit (Electrical) was established separately. This was unable to meet all the requirements of the Landing Ships. A ship maintenance unit was therefore set up.

By 1975, the BRO at Port Blair was able to increase the operational availability of the landing ships and the patrol boats.

The new workshops were sanctioned in 1975, completed in 1977, and commissioned as a BRO in 1979. A Floating Dock was acquired and commissioned in 1987. This saved ships from having to go to Visakhapatnam for annual docking. In 1993, the BRO was redesignated as a Naval Ship Repair Yard.

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