Gujarat ship breaking firm wins INS Viraat in e-auction

Gujarat ship breaking firm wins INS Viraat in e-auction

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The e-auction of retired Indian Naval Ship (INS) Viraat is said to have been won by a Gujarat-based shipbreaking firm for Rs 26 crore. The firm said that it is now awaiting a response from the Indian Navy and the central government to clear the next rounds of negotiation before handing over this historic vessel for demolition. 

"We have won the e-auction held on Tuesday for Rs26 crore. The amount doesn't include other taxes like customs and GST. We are now waiting for response from the government agencies who will proceed with the deal. If everything happens as per the procedure we will be towing the ship from Mumbai, where it is presently docked, to Alang Ship Breaking Yard," confirmed Mukesh Patel, chairman of Shri Ram Shipping firm which won the auction. 

Patel said that board of directors of MSTC (Metal Scrap Trade Corporation Limited) along with Indian Navy, among others agencies, will be deciding the next course of action to take the deal further. The officials of MSTC couldn't be reached out for comments. Originally commissioned as HMS Hermes of the British Royal Navy in 1959, INS Viraat is known as the oldest serving warship in the world.

After serving the Indian Navy for 30 years, INS Viraat was decommissioned in 2017. In these years, it spent 2,250 days and sailed 5,88,288 nautical miles in the sea. The ship was deployed for peace-keeping operations in Sri Lanka in 1988, Kargil War in 1999. Soon after it was decommissioned, several states had expressed desire to purchase it and convert into a heritage ship. However, for the last two years, no concrete plan came out. In 2018, the Maharashtra government had also announced to convert the vessel into a maritime museum with recreational facilities.