KOCHI: The three decade-long service rendered by ICGS Varuna- the ‘alma mater’ of numerous Indian Coast Guard(ICG) and Navy(IN) officers - came to an end on Wednesday after the ship was decommissioned with full military honors at a function held at the Naval Base here.The decommissioning ceremony, held ahead of handing the vessel over to the Sri Lankan Coast Guard at a function scheduled to be held at the Naval Base on September 6, was presided over by Inspector General K R Nautiyal, Commander, Coast Guard Region (West). Addressing the decommissioning ceremony Nautiyal highlighted the contributions made by the vessel in training future ICG and Navy officers. “We are paying our tribute to the ship which made a significant contribution to the annals of Indian Coast Guard history. It also marked a momentous era in the ICG operations,” the IG said.
Various civil and military dignitaries, besides previous Commanding Officers and crew of the vessel attended the function. A Guard of Honour was also provided and as the sun went down the ‘Coast Guard Ensign’ was hauled down the ship for one last time. Soon after, as is the tradition when a ship is decommissioned, the ‘Decommissioning Pennant’ which is equal to the length of the ship was lowered. The Commanding Officer of the ship, DIG Rajesh Mittal commanded the ceremonial parade and made a final decommissioning report to the Commander, Coast Guard (West).
The ship which was inducted into the Indian Coast Guard on February 27, 1988 by the then Defence Minister K C Pant had been flying the tricolour and Coast Guard Ensign during her illustrious carrier spanning over 29 years. ICGS Varuna was fourth in the series of Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) built by Mazagon Docks Ltd(MDL) Mumbai. The ship had numerous operational achievements to its credit including a record number of arrests of smugglers with gold worth several crore in the late eighties.
The ship had been a cadet training ship for the last 10 years and was part of the 1st Training Squadron (1 TS) of the Indian Navy which trains officer sea trainees of both the Navy as well as the Coast Guard.