Kochi: The theft of hard disks from INS Vikrant might have compromised information about the Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), a computerised system used on board ships to monitor the working and course of the vessel and to warn against safety risks. Though five hard disks and as many RAMS and microprocessors were stolen from the country's first indigenous aircraft carrier being built in the Cochin Shipyard, they may not have contained any sensitive data about the warship, a Kochi police team has found out.
The Indian Navy has said that no sensitive information was part of the stolen materials as the ship was not yet in service. The shipyard officials were not sure about the date of the theft. All they know is that the hard disks were on board until August 28 at least.
The police team led by Deputy Commissioner of Police G Poonkuzhali also found out that some of the cables and mechanical parts were stolen. The hard disks also included a temporary demo schedule of the associated Battle Damage Control System (BDCS), which is used as a guide by sailors to offload in case of an emergency.
The police suspect that the theft might have happened over a number of days and involved more than one person. Though the police are 90 per cent sure that the theft were motivated by financial gains, they have not ruled out the possibility of a sabotage. A lack of monitoring inside the ship has proved to be a hurdle in the investigation. The workers are frisked only before entering the carrier. No surveillance cameras have been installed inside the ship.
The Cochin Shipyard, the country's largest shipbuilding and maintenance facility, is under the protection of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). The installation of the IPMS is the responsibility of the public sector BHEL.
INS Vikrant is the first aircraft carrier to be designed and built in India. The keel was laid n February 2009. The ship is expected to start sea trials in February 2021 and enter the service as early as 2023. The project cost has touched Rs 20,000 crore.