Alang: Union Shipping Minister Mansukh L Mandaviya on Monday bid final farewell to India’s first aircraft carrier INS Viraat as he announced here: “Time has come to say thank you INS Viraat.”
Speaking to ANI, the Union Shipping Minister (Independent Charge) said, “INS Virat has played the lead role for India’s security for 30 years. It joined the Navy of India in 1987 and since then it has made many changes according to the requirement of the country. To send peace forces to Sri Lanka, be it Kargil War, it has played an important role in such a situation. It has travelled 11 lakh kilometres and served in the Indian Navy for 30 years, after which it is retiring. And when retired, it has been brought to its place where we appeared here for the last thanksgiving.”
Mandaviya further said, “We wanted INS Viraat to have a museum and the initiative was taken by the Mumbai Port on behalf of my ministry, negotiated with the Navy and a dock was also prepared, but when the Expert Committee studied in its decision was taken that it would not last more than 10 years. Because its ferrous is also going down, in such a situation there may be the possibility of an accident in the form of a museum. In view of such a situation, it was decided to send it for a final farewell.”
“The reason for bringing INS Virat here because it has reached 70 years of age and its maintenance expenses were increasing considerably and it was slowly becoming weaker, seeing that there was a need to give it a final farewell,” the Minister said
INS Viraat, the world’s longest-serving Warship that was decommissioned by the Indian Navy three years ago, arrived off the Alang coast in Gujarat for dismantling.
The aircraft carrier began its final journey from the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai recently and reached the waters at Alang in Bhavnagar district. It will be dismantled at the ship-breaking yard in Alang and then sold as scrap.
The warship, which was inducted into the Indian Navy in 1987, was purchased by Shree Ram Group for a sum of Rs 38.54 crore at an auction in July this year.
It was the second centaur-class aircraft carrier that was in service with the Indian Navy for 30 years before being decommissioned in March 2017.
There were proposals in the past to preserve it as a maritime museum.