The Dufferin was not an ordinary ship. It has a glorious history. It was originally built as a troop ship for the Royal Indian Marine by M/s. Vickers Son & Maxim at Barrow-in-Furriness, England, launched on 14th September 1904 and delivered to the Govt. of India in Bombay on 21st February, 1905. The ship was named after Lord Dufferin, a former Viceroy and Governor General of India.
During the World War I, she saw active service as auxiliary cruiser. At the end of the War, she returned to her original duty as a troop career. In June 1925 the “Dufferin” was scheduled to be sold for scrap along with her other two sister troop ships, Harding and Northbrook. But the destiny had reserved a more memorable role for the “Dufferin”; that of being the first Maritime Training Institution in India. The passing of a resolution moved in the Central Legislative Assembly by Sir Sivaswamy Aiyar in January 1922 resulted in the appointment of Indian Mercantile Marine Committee. This Committee recommended the establishment of Training Ship in Bombay for the purpose of training Indian boys in marine profession and further recommended that the troopship “Dufferin” be converted for this purpose. The Indian Mercantile Marine Training Ship “Dufferin” thus came into being in November 1927.
The “Dufferin” started her new career on an experimental basis for 3 years and was made into a permanent institution in the year 1930. The duration of the training course was 3 years and the entry qualification was 3 standards below matriculation. The passing certificate of the “Dufferin” was recognized by the Bombay University as equivalent to matriculation certificate.
The first batch of 7 out of 30 selected joined the ship in November, 1927. From 1927 till 1934, the “Dufferin” trained only executive cadets. In 1935, the first batch of Engineer Cadets joined the ship.
A number of cadets trained at Dufferin reached at the pinnacle of their career. A few to name are Shri A.R. Khan and S.M. Ahsan who became Commanders in Chief of Pakistan Navy. Shri JTG Pereira and Shri Uttam Singh became Vice Admiral in Indian Navy.