An Indian Navy vessel which was opened to visitors here at Vizhinjam on Sunday was so overwhelmed by the response that it had to summon additional police force for crowd control.
Fast attack craft INS Kalpeni docked at this ancient port as part of the Navy Day celebrations. The vessel was open from 9 am to 4 pm for the public to get a feel of the rigours and positives of naval life. But from the word go, visitors had started boarding the vessel in droves. Not being such a big craft, only a few visitors were allowed aboard at a time.
But by late afternoon, the Commanding Officer had to seek the help of the local police station to control the people, which included women and children. ‘’The response has been overwhelming. So overwhelming that we had to summon additional police force,’’ Lieutenant Commander Vikas Jha, Commanding Officer of Kalpeni, said.
A 30 mm CRN 91 gun constitutes the main armament on the Kalpeni. The vessel is also fitted with machine guns of various types and shoulder-launched Surface to Air Missiles. Kalpeni has a crew of three officers and 39 sailors and can touch a top speed of 35 knots.
INS Kalpeni and another fast attack craft INS Kabra have been touring minor ports Beypore, Kollam and Vizhinjam. In Kollam also, the response had been overwhelming. Both vessels are propelled by water jets.
The Southern Naval Command, Kochi, uses these vessels for patrolling the coast.