MUMBAI: A final decision on whether to have a maritime museum on board INS Viraat following her decommissioning is yet to be taken. As of now, the Andhra Pradesh government has formally evinced interest in such a project, Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Naval Command (WNC) said here on Monday.
“The decision on this (museum on board Viraat) would be taken at New Delhi and very soon we would come to know of it,” Luthra said.
Referring to the Vikrant episode, he said, “We were keen to retain Vikrant but it did not materialise.”
Vikrant had to be scrapped. A ship of the size of Vikrant or Viraat occupies a big space in the berth besides its maintenance and operational costs to keep her floating.
INS Viraat would be decommissioned on March 6, he said.
The second Centaur-Class aircraft carrier in service which has spent 30 years in the Indian Navy and 27 years in the Royal Navy; will be decommissioned on the day, in a grand ceremony at Naval Dockyard, Mumbai. The decommissioning ceremony will be attended by personnel who have served on board INS Viraat in the past, and will also include some of the officers and men from United Kingdom. The ceremonies will be commemorated by the release of Special Cover by Army Postal Service, and a book on the history of Viraat, Luthra said.
Submarine INS Sindhurakshak, that sunk after a series of explosions on August 14, 2013 and later salvaged, would be decommissioned by Monsoon, he added.
On August 14, 2013, on the eve of Independence Day celebrations, INS Sindhurakshak, which was at the South Breakwater jetty met with a tragedy after a series of explosions on board the vessel.
Three persons who were on watch duty, jumped into the Arabian Sea and escaped, but 18 personnel inside the vessel perished in what was the worst submarine accident for the Indian Navy. This was the worst peace-time casuality for the Indian Navy.