­India-based Cochin Shipyard has secured an order from Andaman & Nicobar (A&N) Administration to build four passenger-cum-cargo vessels.

Two of the proposed vessels will have a capacity to carry 500 passengers and 150t of cargo, while the remaining two will be able to hold 1,200 personnel and of 1,000t cargo.

The ships will help realise the government of India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, and are to be built in accordance with the latest national and international specifications.

India’s Ministry of Shipping notes that the vessels will be equipped with diesel electric propulsions, which will drive two azimuth thrusters to provide greater manoeuvrability.

"The vessels will be equipped with diesel electric propulsions, which will drive two azimuth thrusters to provide greater manoeuvrability."

Cochin Shipyard has already begun construction on the smaller set of vessels, which will be designed to operate in the ocean under all weather conditions.

The vessels will be deployed in A&N Islands’ Northern and Southern group, as well as various inter-island services.

They will also be used to make occasional voyages between mainland India and the islands in Andaman & Nicobar. Deliveries of the vessels are scheduled to be carried out by 2020.

Cochin Shipyard plans to start building the larger set of vessels next month, which will commute between the mainland and the islands. They will also be capable of making international voyages when required..

A committee featuring members from Cochin Shipyard, Shipping Corporation of India and A&N Administration has been formed to monitor the overall progress of the shipbuilding project.