Decommissioned carrier Viraat may go the Vikrant way

Decommissioned carrier Viraat may go the Vikrant way

Decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Viraat. (DH photo)

In what comes as a bit of bad news, decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Viraat is set to be auctioned on Tuesday. The e-auction is being conducted by Metals and Scrap Trading Corporation (MSTC) - will be conducted after 12 noon.

With this, Viraat is meeting the same fate as INS Vikrant.

The British-made INS Viraat is currently docked in the Mumbai harbour since its decommissioning on March 6, 2017. At least, three states - Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Goa - had initially evinced interest in the project. In November 2018, the Maharashtra government cleared an estimate of Rs 852 crore for the ambitious maritime museum project, which was to be located in Sindhudurg district along the coastal Konkan belt of the state. In May 2019, the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) floated expressions of interest (EOI) for converting the ship into an integrated tourism facility and for operating it on a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) basis. However, no bids were received.

The Guinness record holder for being the longest-serving warship of the world, INS Viraat had served for 30 years in the Indian Navy and 27 years in the Royal Navy.

Under the Indian Flag, the ship was instrumental during Operation Parakram between India and Pakistan; apart from Sri Lankan Peace Keeping operation. Its last operational deployment was participating in the International Fleet Review in February 2016.

As far as Vikrant was concerned, in 1957, she was sold to India by the United Kingdom and in 1961 she was commissioned as INS Vikrant on March 4 1961. She was decommissioned on January 31, 1997. Multiple efforts to convert her into a museum failed. However, in May 2014, Vikrant moved from Naval Dockyard to Darukhana, following a Supreme Court order. In November 2014, Vikrant was scrapped.