Chennai: Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday formally commissioned the Coast Guard offshore patrol vessel ‘Varaha’ at the Chennai Port Trust here. After unveiling a plaque commemorating the commissioning ceremony, Singh said the state-of-the-art ship was going to be a force multiplier for Indian Coast Guard, pointing it has capabilities to operate twin engine ALH Helicopters developed indigenously by HAL.
Singh, who arrived here on Tuesday on a two day visit, participated in the Investiture Ceremony of Coast Guard. “it is indeed reassuring to witness the growing strength of Indian Coast Guard, the ‘Sentinals of our seas’ and capabilities of Larsen and Toubro Shipbuilding Ltd one of the strong supporting pillars for production and maintenance of surface assets of our maritime forces,” he said.
He said the name ‘Varaha’ from puranas reminded of the principle of sacrifice and rescue at sea, saving mother Earth, restoring harmony and strength. Singh congratulated the Indian Coast Guard and L&T shipyard for bringing Varaha back overseas. The multitude challenges of drug trafficking, oil spill incidents, and the growing threat of maritime terrorism calls for cooperation on regional arrangements with various Maritime Nations and Indian Coast Guard over the years has built bonds of diplomacy, he noted.
Singh said the Coast Guard entered into a memorandum of understanding with seven maritime nations for capacity building training collective and cooperative response to deal with Maritime threats. India’s engagement with the world has seen an exponential growth and today the coast guard is at the fulcrum operating round the clock for safeguarding national interest in the maritime zones of India apart from building bridges of confidence at sea for the safety, security and growth in the Indian ocean.
The OPV is part of the contract awarded to Larsen and Toubro to build seven offshore patrol vessels at the Kattuppalli Port near here. This is the fourth in the series of seven 98-m vessel awarded to Larsen and Toubro. ‘Varaha’ refers to the third incarnation of Lord Vishnu who took the form of a boar to rescue Goddess Earth from the ocean by lifting her on his tusks. ‘Varaha’ is the projection of Coast Guard’s will and commitment ‘to serve and protect’ the maritime interest of the country.
According to sources, the ship has been designed and built indigenously by Larsen and Toubro and is fitted with state of the art communication technology and navigation, sensor and machinery. The vessel is equipped with a 30-mm gun and a 12.7mm gun for enhancing the fighting efficiency of the vessel. Some of the special features of the vessel include Integrated Bridge System, Automated power management system, high power external firefighting system, indigenously built Integrated platform management system and Help Traversing System.
The ship also carries four high speed boats including two rigid hull inflated boats for boarding operation, search and rescue, law enforcement and maritime patrol.
Besides, the ship has capabilities of carrying limited Pollution Response equipment to contain oil spill at Sea. It displaces 2,100 tonne and propelled by two engines and is capable of achieving maximum speed of 26 knots and endurance of 5000 nautical miles. The ship will be manned by 14 officers and 89 men. It will be commanded by Commandant Dushyant Kumar. The ship is planned to be based at New Mangalore under the administrative and operational control of Coast Guard Commander (West) Region.