India had never been a true Maritime Nation before, although the Cholas excelled in foreign trade and maritime activity, extending their influence overseas to China and Southeast Asia.The Maritime Training was never a part of Indian studies ever before, and to talk about vedic civilisation and their Maritime past would be futile at this point of time.
The Change was yet to come and soon it came with the first Training Ship , TS Dufferin.This Ship was named after the Marquess of Dulferin and Ava, Viceroy and Governor General of India 1884-1988.She was built to replace the R.I.M.S. “Clive” (R.I.M.S here refers to Royal India Marine Ship),and it was built at a cost of £ 193,625.One Executive Officer (Commander Pitford, R.l.M.) and two-Engineer Officers (Chief Engineer Torry and Engineer Robertson) took a passage to India in the R.I.MS Dufferin.
R.I.M.S Dufferin was taken over in Bombay by the British Government of India on 2lst February 1905.The Ship still was was a Royal Indian Marine ship and commanded by British Officers.On 5th December 1927 First batch of Three year Nautical Science course started with 26 cadets. These cadets later aquired great positions in the Maritime Faternity and Forces.
Changes took place even in the uniforms worn by Officers and Cadets,the black stockings worn by Cadets in No. 13’s uniform were replaced by white ones in april of 1948, India was Independent,but still not republic.
Soon the post of Chief Engineer Officer was abolished with effect from the lst October from which date Mr. J. S. H. Stevenson became the Director of Marine Engineering Training on the ship.
With time as the country moved to discover its new found freedom,it was realised that the Mercantile Marine Training ship preamble which was quite lenghthy was proving itself unnecessary,Change in designation of “Dufferin” brought a new change in the training of Merchant Navy Officers, the Government of India announced that R.I.M.S Dufferin should now be designated as Training Ship ” T.S Dufferin” with effect from l4th March 1949.
T.S Dufferin trained great Officers both in Merchant Navy as well as for the Royal Navy and Indian Navy.In 1950 Jalagopal, a passenger and cargo vessel with a full complement of Indian Officers and crew crossed the oceans and this was the time when real glory of T.S Dufferin was acknowledged and Indians came onboard Merchant Vessels as Officers.The first Indian Chief of Naval Staff appointed in 1958 was an ex-cadet of the 1st batch of T.S Dufferin, many of the great Indian Naval Officers were ex Cadets of T.S Dufferin.Cadet Ramdas Katari,who later became first commander-in-chief (Admiral) was cadet from Dufferin, Dufferin also gets the credit of training the great Merchant Navy Officers of all time,those were the golden days of the TS Dufferin.
T.S duffering will always be considered as the greatest pioneer in Indian Merchant Navy/Mercantile Marine as stated in our preamble,Indians emerged and proved themselves as great Officers on Merchant Vessels and doors to the Globe opened, I don’t see much of Indian swadeshi history in TS Dufferin but by the eye of an analyst I can say it was the real starting point of Indian Maritime Training and inspires the Cadets even today.
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