INDIA. Mumbai: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh commissioned the first indigenously built Indian Coast Guard (ICG) ship “Vigraha” at a function organized at the Kattupali Shipyard cum Captive Port Complex in Chennai on Saturday.
Terming it an important step towards achieving ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’(self-reliant India), Singh said the ship is a perfect example of a successful partnership between public and private sectors to realize the dream of self-reliant India as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and also a reflection of the significant improvement in India’s coastal defence capability.
He said that for the first time in the history of Indian defence, contracts for seven vessels were signed with a private sector company and within years of signing this agreement in 2015, the commissioning of all these seven vessels has been completed today.
On the changing global security environment, he stated that countries around the world are strengthening their military power and the Government, through various reforms, is ensuring that India is not left behind. He listed out some of the reforms including simplification of the process of licensing in the defence sector, accelerating the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) and Request for Proposal (RFP) processes, emphasizing exports, establishing defence corridors, and promulgation of the new Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020.
He stressed that India cannot remain untouched by developments as “our interests are directly linked to the Indian Ocean”. He described the Indian Ocean region as a key route not just for India but for the entire world as it is home to more than two-thirds of the oil shipments, one-third of bulk cargo, and over half of the container traffic. With the continuously changing regional scenario, he emphasized the need to remain vigilant at all times.
Singh lauded the efforts of ICG towards realizing the vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region), with a focus on the spirit of friendship, openness, dialogue, and co-existence with the neighbours with a keen sense of duty as its core.
He recalled the ICG’s role in extending help to neighbouring countries. He hailed the role of ICG in providing pro-active help in saving very large crude carrier MT ‘New Diamond’ last year, and the cargo ship MV ‘X-Press Pearl’. He also commended the efforts of ICG for its assistance provided to Mauritius during the oil spill from the ‘Wakashio’ motor vessel.
ICGS Vigraha will be based at Visakhapatnam and operate on India’s Eastern Seaboard under the operational and administrative control of the Commander, Coast Guard Region (East). ICGS Vigraha commanded by Commandant PN Anoop has a complement of 11 Officers and 110 men.
The 98 meters Offshore Patrol Vessel, has been designed and built indigenously by M/s Larsen & Toubro Ship Building Ltd. and is fitted with advanced technology Radars, navigation and communication equipment, sensor, and machinery capable of operating in tropical sea conditions. The vessel is armed with a 40/60 Bofors gun and fitted with two 12.7 mm Stabilised Remote Control Gun (SRCG) with Fire Control System. The ship is also equipped with Integrated Bridge System (IBS), Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), Automated Power Management System (APMS), and High-Power External Fire fighting (EFF) system.
The ship is designed to carry one twin Engine Helicopter and four high-speed boats for Boarding Operation, Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement, and Maritime Patrol. The ship is also capable of carrying limited pollution response equipment to contain oil spills at sea. The ship displaces approx. 2200 tons (GRT) and is propelled by two 9100 KW diesel engines to attain a maximum speed of 26 knots with an endurance of 5000 nm at economical speed, an official statement said.
The ship, on joining the Coast Guard Eastern fleet, will be deployed extensively for Exclusive Economic Zone surveillance and other duties as enshrined in the ICG Charter, to safeguard the maritime interests of India. With this ship joining the fleet, ICG will have 157 ships and 66 aircraft in its inventory.
The commissioning ceremony was also attended by Tamil Nadu Industries Minister T Thennarasu, Chief of Army Staff General M M Naravane, ICG Director General Krishnaswamy Natarajan, ICG Additional Director General VS Pathania, ICG Inspector General AP Badola, and ICGS Vigraha Commanding Officer Commandant PN Anoop.