The plane provider served the Navy for 29 years earlier than being decommissioned in 2017. None of the makes an attempt to transform ‘Viraat’ right into a museum or a restaurant have been profitable
Mumbai: Indian Navy’s decommissioned plane provider Viraat on Saturday set sail for the final time, on solution to Alang in Gujarat, the place will probably be damaged down and bought as scrap.
For Navy veterans who watched the large vessel being towed away by a tug boat, it was an emotional second as they stood close to the Gateway of India, waving on the as soon as ‘floating city’, aboard which they spent the perfect years of their profession.
As Viraat started its closing journey from the Naval dockyard, a Navy helicopter circling overhead supplied an impressive backdrop to the vessel’s final voyage.
A Defence spokesperson mentioned Viraat was to go away for Alang on Friday, however its departure was delayed by a day.
The plane provider served the Indian Navy for 29 years earlier than being decommissioned in March 2017. It had served within the UK’s Royal Navy as HMS Hermes and was named INS Viraat after being inducted within the Indian Navy in 1987.
There have been makes an attempt to transform ‘Viraat’ right into a museum or a restaurant, however not one of the plans fructified.
Alang-based Shree Ram group purchased it for Rs 38.54 crore at an public sale. Viraat can be dismantled on the Alang ship breaking yard, mentioned firm chairman Mukesh Patel.
“The vessel will likely reach Alang by 21 September if weather conditions remain favourable,” he added.
Once the ship arrives, it would require clearances from the Gujarat Pollution Control Board and Customs earlier than being introduced ashore. Permissions may also be wanted for recycling as per the Supreme Court’s 2013 pointers, Patel mentioned.
The ship can be scrapped in 9 to 12 months, he mentioned. Prior to being commissioned in Indian Navy on 12 May, 1987, the plane provider had served with UKs Royal Navy for 27 years below the identify HMS Hermes, taking it to a complete of 56 years of operational service, and making it among the many oldest serving warships.
Under the Indian flag, Viraat performed an important function in army operations comparable to Operation Jupiter, Operation Parakram and Operation Vijay.
Viraat was commissioned into Indian Navy at Plymouth within the United Kingdom.
For the Indian Navy, Operation Jupiter in July 1989 was Viraat’s first main operation, as a part of the Indian Peace Keeping operations in Sri Lanka within the wake of the breakdown of the Indo-Sri Lankan accord of 1986.
Viraat additionally noticed motion throughout Operation Parakram in 2001-2002, submit the fear assault on Parliament.
The final operational deployment of the ship was the participation in International Fleet Review at Vishakhapatanam on February 2016.
The ship additionally participated in varied worldwide joint workout routines like Malabar (with US Navy), Varuna (with French Navy), Naseem-Al-Bahr (with Oman Navy) and was an integral ingredient of annual Theater Level Operational Exercise (TROPEX).
Viraat is the second plane provider to be damaged down in India. In 2014, Vikrant was damaged down in Mumbai.
Four officers who served on board Viraat when it was operational, went on to change into Indian Navy chiefs.
Nicknamed the Grand Old Lady, Viraat may carry a contingent of over 1,500 crew and officers. “She was like a floating city, a piece of our country wherever we went,” a former Navy officer mentioned.
The warship served the British Navy for 25 years between 1959 and 1984. It was then known as HMS Hermes and had performed a significant function within the Falklands War of 1982.
When the Indian Navy acquired the warship in 1986, the British Navy predicted that it could not be in service for greater than seven years. But she went on to serve the Indian Navy for almost 30 years, over 4 occasions the expected life span.
Viraat was at sea for a whopping 2,258 days, overlaying 5,90,000 nautical miles, and 22,622 hours of flying operations, a Defence official mentioned.
It may carry 25 plane, together withSea Harrier fighters and Sea King 42 B/C, Chetak, Kamov 31 and ALH helicopters.
While operational, Viraat weighed about 27,800 tonnes. Its boilers had run for over 80,000 hours and it was in all probability the one warship, constructed in the course of the World War II, to have served any nation for thus lengthy, the official mentioned.
Many social media customers lamented the failure of successive governments to protect Viraat and one other plane provider Vikrant as maritime muesums to depict India’s wealthy naval heritage, as an alternative of permitting them to be damaged down and bought as scrap.
“#Viraat Callsign “Romeo Two Two” – End of an era, a glorious chapter in the history of @indiannavy. She departs #Mumbai today for her final journey. Old ships never die, their spirit lives on,” tweeted PRO Defence Mumbai.
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