The Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) says it will buy two ships from state-run shipbuilder Cochin Shipyard in a $35m contract.

The SCI is looking to replace its ageing fleet of ten vessels with five ships.

The company, one of India’s largest ocean carriers, is expected to phase out its existing fleet by 2013.

The two new vessels will be able to pull 120t and will be used to provide key support to offshore oil exploration operations.