CHENNAI: Indian Coast Guard Ship Bhikhaiji Cama, the fourth ship in Priyadarshini class of Fast Patrol Vessels, bid adieu on Tuesday after serving the nation for 20 years.The vessel was decommissioned at a traditional ceremony held at Chennai Port presided over by Inspector-General Rajan Bargotra, Commander, Coast Guard Region East.
The occasion was also graced by various military and civil dignitaries besides the previous Commanding Officers and crew of the vessel.The vessel was commissioned into Indian Coast Guard on September 24, 1997 by Lt General Ravi Eipe, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command. The ship has the honour of serving two Coast Guard Regions since commissioning. It was re-based to Andaman and Nicobar region.
During her lifespan, ICGS Bhikhaiji Cama sailed for 2,586 days and has covered a total distance of 2,46,937 nautical miles. She participated in various missions and saved 85 lives in eight search and rescue operations, apprehended 10 foreign fishing vessels and 131 crew responsible for poaching in Indian waters and evacuated 137 personnel during Tsunami relief operations.
During the ceremony, an impressive Guard of Honour was held and with sunset, the Coast Guard Ensign was hauled down on the ship for the last time. Soon after “Decommissioning Pennant” which is equal to the ship’s length was lowered. Commandant JG Varun Upadhya, the Commanding Officer of the ship supervised the final ceremony and made the final decommissioning report.