INS Viraat auction fails to attract bidders

INS Viraat auction fails to attract bidders

Representative image. (DH file photo)

The majestic decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Viraat has failed to get any bidders. The Central government has decided to scrap it as plans to convert her into a maritime museum has failed to take off.

MSTC Ltd put it up for e-auction on Tuesday, for which there were no bidders. The company will now announce fresh dates for auction. The deposit money is Rs 5.3 crore. 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 for participation in 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 top convert her into a museum failed. However, in May 2014, Vikrant moved from Naval Dockyard to Darukhana, following the Supreme Court order. In November 2014, Vikrant was scrapped.