Old salt INS viraat set for final sail to Davy Jones' locker

Published: 02nd October 2016 12:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd October 2016 10:18 AM   |  A+A-



KOCHI:  INS Viraat, the oldest and longest serving aircraft carrier in the world, will leave Kochi by month-end for retirement from her 28-year-long service in the Indian Navy. INS Viraat has completed its final essential repairs and dry-docking at Cochin Shipyard Limited. The vessel’s journey from Mumbai to Kochi was its last sail under own propulsion.
On the return trip, the ship will be towed to Mumbai where a decommissioning ceremony will be held early next year. All equipment useful for the Navy has been retrieved from the vessel.
INS Viraat gave 57 years of service, of which nearly 30 years was under the Indian flag. The aircraft carrier, which has a glorious history of serving two countries, was originally commissioned in the British Royal Navy as HMS Hermes in November 1959. She was  purchased by India in 1986 and was inducted into the Indian Navy in 1987. It is the last British-built ship serving the Indian Navy.
INS Viraat’s motto was ‘Jalameva Yasya, Balameva Tasya’ in Sanskrit (he who rules over the seas is all powerful). She was part of almost all major operations of the Navy, such as Operation Jupiter, Operation Parakram, Sri Lankan Peace Keeping Operation and Operation Vijay. The ship spent nearly 2,250 days at sea and travelled 5,88,288 nautical miles (10,94,215 km).
The international joint  exercises in which the ship participated include ‘Malabar’ with the US Navy, ‘Varuna’ with the French Navy, ‘Al Sabhar’ with the Oman Navy and the Theatre Level Operational Exercise (TROPEX). Viraat’s last operational deployment was in the International Fleet review (IFR) earlier this year.
“The government is yet to decide the future of the ship. Its crew and officers will be appointed in the other naval establishments/ships,” said Commanding Officer Captain Puneet Chadha.


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