Plea To Convert INS Viraat Into a Museum, SC Stays Dismantling
The plea seeks to convert the 62-year-old ship into a maritime museum and multi-functional adventure centre.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 10 February stayed the dismantling of the decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Viraat, after hearing a petition by a firm seeking to convert the ship into a maritime museum and multi-functional adventure centre.
The Indian Navy's decommissioned aircraft carrier 'INS Viraat' sailed for the Alang port in Gujarat in December 2020, the country's biggest ‘graveyard’ for decommissioned ships.
The vessel was bought by Shri Ram Green Ship Recycling Industries Ltd, Gujarat, for Rs 38.50 crore in an auction conducted by MSTC Ltd.
Initially, at least three states – Maharashtra, Goa and Andhra Pradesh – had shown interest in converting it into a floating museum and in 2018 Maharashtra even set aside Rs 852 crore for docking it in Sindhudurg district.
In May 2019, the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) floated a proposal to convert 'Viraat' into an integrated tourism facility on PPP basis, but found no takers.
INS Viraat: A Historic Glory
Formerly known as 'HMS Hermes', the ship had served the British Navy for a quarter century from November 1959 to April 1984.
It was in 1974 that Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, had flown helicopters of 845 Naval Air Squadron aboard the 'HMS Hermes', as it was formerly called.
According to IANS, the second Centaur-class aircraft carrier in India, as INS Viraat, she served 29 years and earlier 27 years as HMS Hermes, making it a total of 56 years of operational service – notching a Guinness World Record.
The British-built carrier served the Indian Navy by remaining at sea for 2,258 days and covered 10,95,000 km (590,000 nautical miles).
It was commissioned into the Indian Navy as its second aircraft carrier, 'INS Viraat' in May 1987, after extensive refurbishments and beefing up its fighting capabilities. The Indian Navy decommissioned the ship in March 2017 and since then, it was docked at the naval dockyard here.
The ship had several logistics and infrastructure facilities like libraries, gyms, an ATM, a TV and video studio, a general hospital with two operation theatres, a dental hospital, tailor, saloons, a massive laundry to wash 800 pairs of uniforms daily, and a generator that produced nearly 9 MW of power.
(With inputs from IANS.)
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