The Indian Coast Guard and L&T launched a 98-m Offshore Patrol vessel ‘Vigraha’ at a private shipyard in Kattupalli, north of Chennai. The vessel is the last in the series of seven offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) contracted to L&T by the defence ministry in March 2015 as a part of the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
OPVs are long-range surface ships, capable of operation in maritime zones of India, including island territories with helicopter operation capabilities.
The vessel was launched at the hands of Hema Somanathan spouse of the chief guest and was named ‘ICGS Vigraha’ in the presence of Dr TV Somanathan, IAS, Secretary (Expenditure), Ministry of Finance. Other dignitaries and officers like Director General Indian Coast Guard K Natarajan and Inspector General Region East S Paramesh were also present. The ceremony involved breaking a coconut on the bow of the vessel, along with Puja and festivities.
The launching of the vessel marks an important milestone, as the vessel touches the water for the first time. In India, ships have historically been launched with a Puja ceremony that dedicates the ship to the almighty and blessings are sought for the ship and her crew.
The 98-m long ship has a displacement of 2100 tons, is capable of achieving a top speed of 26 knots, has an endurance of 5000 nautical miles and has the ability to stay at sea for 20 days without replenishment. The entire design and construction process has been certified by the American Bureau of Shipping and the Indian Registrar of Shipping and overseen by the Indian Coast Guard’s resident team at Kattupalli.
Vigraha, also known as Yard-45007, is likely to be inducted into the Indian Coast Guard in March 2021, after completion of extensive trials and testing of the on-board equipment and machinery.
Once inducted, the vessel would serve the East Region, from Vishakapatnam, under the leadership of IG S Paramesh in the Region East.
L&T said it showcased the resolve and the highest level of commitment to progress with production of OPVs despite numerous challenges due to COVID-19 restrictions, the collapse of global supply chain and scant availability of human resources.
During the commissioning of an Interceptor boat at the East region, IG S Paramesh had said that the East region has a fleet of 10 Interceptor boats, eight offshore patrol vessels, 15 fast patrol vessels, besides five Dornier aircraft and three Chetak choppers.