India’s maritime history predates the birth of Western civilisation. The world's first tidal dock is believed to have been built at Lothal around 2300 BC during the Harappan civilisation, near the present day Mangrol harbour on the Gujarat coast. The Rig Veda, written around 2000 BC, credits Varuna with knowledge of the ocean routes. In Indian mythology, Varuna was the exalted deity to whom lesser mortals turned to for forgiveness of their sins. It is only later that Indra became the King of the Gods and Varuna was relegated to become the God of Seas and Rivers. History records that Indian ships traded with Countries as far as Java and Sumatra, and available evidence indicates that they were also trading with other countries in the Pacific, and Indian Ocean. India had a flourishing trade with Rome too.
Trades of this volume could not have been conducted over the countries without appropriate Navigational skills. Two Indian astronomers of repute, Aryabhatta and Varahamihira, having accurately mapped the positions of celestial bodies, developed a method of computing a ship's position from the stars. A crude forerunner of the modern magnetic compass called Matsyayantra was being used around the fourth or fifth century AD.
Another account of the early fifteenth Century describes Indian ships as being built in compartments so that even if one part was shattered, the next remained intact, thus enabling the ship to complete her voyage. This was perhaps a forerunner of the modern day subdivision of ships into watertight compartments, a concept then totally alien to the Europeans.
Despite the eclipse of Indian kingdoms with the advent of western domination, Indian shipbuilders continued to hold their own well into the nineteenth century. The Bombay Dock completed in July 1735 is in use even today.
Two Indian built Ships witnessed history in the making. The Treaty of Nanking, ceding Hong Kong to the British was signed onboard HMS Cornwallis in 1842. The national anthem of USA “Star Spangled Banner", was composed by Francis Scott Key onboard HMS Minden when the Ship was on a visit to Baltimore. Numerous other ships were also constructed, the most famous being HMS Trincomalee, which was launched on 19 Oct 1817, carrying 86 guns and displacing 1065 tons. This ship was latter renamed Foudroyant.
The period of 4000 years between Lothal and Bombay Dock, therefore, offers tangible evidence of seafaring skills the nation possessed in the days of sail.
Prospects of Marine Industry in India:
Shipbuilding (encompassing shipyards, the marine equipment manufacturers and a large number of service and knowledge providers) is an important and strategic industry in a number of countries around the world. The shipbuilding industry has its own distinctive feature as compared to other industries in the country. It is unique in a way that it has to sell first and construct later, unlike the auto industry or others, where one manufactures first and sells later.
Globally shipbuilding is a USD 20 billion industry. The global shipbuilding order book recorded a 29% CAGR over the period of 2003 – 06. An upward trend has been witnessed in the world order book as a percentage of world fleet indicating a strong demand outlook.
With global shipping industry pitching for an unprecedented demand for new shipbuilding, a window of opportunity which was not available earlier has been created for the Indian shipbuilding industry.
With its vast coast line of over 5560 Km’s shipping occupies an important position in the countries trade and commerce. By volume and value Indian sea trade is 90% and 70% respectively. But the ship building industry has been very poor till the mid 90’s. After liberalising the ship building policies in 1991 by allowing private sector participation in building all types of ships, ship building industry has raised in India. Presently India has 23 shipyards, of which 7 are under administrative control of the central government, 2 with state governments, and the rest in the private sector. But on the other hand at the same time the Indian ship building is facing many challenges such as lack of design, heavy engineering facilities, and absence of exposure to new technologies and above all mainly scarcity of qualified professionals.
So to cater the requirements of skilled professionals at their desired / aspirant levels, we took a step forward to serve the marine industry with its unique commitments first time in India.