CHENNAI: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh commissioned the Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Varaha, a state-of-the-art offshore patrol vessel with capabilities to operate twin engine ALH Helicopter developed indigenously by HAL, at the Chennai Port Trust here on Wednesday.
This is the fourth in the series of seven 98-meter Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Varaha, named after the third incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Rajnath said Varaha, which is designed with night flying capabilities, will operate from the port of New Mangalore on the West Coast covering up to Kanyakumari and Lakshadweep. It will be under the operational and administrative control of Commander Coast Guard region (West).
Designed and built indigenously at Kattupuli Port here, the ship is fitted with the most advanced state-of-the-art technology, navigation and communication equipment, sensor and machinery. It is also the 50th vessel built by L & T in Chennai since the last nine years. It is fitted with 30 mm gun and will be fitted with 12.7 mm gun with FCS for enhancing the fighting efficiency of the ship. The vessel will add to Coast Guard's strength in responding to the threats of maritime terrorism, smuggling and challenges of maritime law enforcement.
The ship will be commanded by Commandant Dushyabt Kumar with a crew of 14 officers and 89 men, and it carries four high-speed boats including two rigid inflatable boats for swift boarding operation, search and rescue, law enforcement and maritime patrol. It would be an enabler towards our international and national obligations of providing search and reduce cover to mariners in distress at sea. It is capable of carrying limited pollution response equipment to contain oil spill.
The ship displaces 2,100 tonnes and is capable of achieving maximum speed of 26 knots and endurance of 5,000 nautical miles and can stay at sea for 20 days without any replenishment.
At present, Indian Coast Guard has a fleet strength of 142 ships and boats and 62 aircraft. About 65 ships are at various stages of construction at different shipyards in India and 16 Advanced Light Helicopters are under production by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bengaluru. Director-General of Coast Guard Krishnaswamy Natarajan said the first ALH will be rolled out by HAL by 2020. The aim of Coast Guard is to have 200 ships and 100 aircraft by 2025, he said.
Deputy Chief Minister O. Paneerselvam, Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar, Larsen and Toubro board member and whole time director (Defence business) J. D. Patil, director and CEO, Larsen and Toubro (Ship Building) B. Kannan, were also present.