The latest offshore patrol vessel (OPV) of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), Vaibhav, designed and built indigenously at Goa Shipyard Limited, was commissioned by Vice Admiral Anurag G.Thapliyal, Director General of Indian Coast Guard, at Tuticorin on Tuesday.
Vaibhav, the third in the series of 90-metre OPVs, replaces ICGS Veera, decommissioned on Monday.
The ship will be deployed for exclusive economic zone surveillance and other duties enlisted in the Coast Guard charter, said Vice Admiral Anurag who commissioned it in the presence of Inspector General S.P.Sharma, Commander, Coast Guard Region (East) and other officials.
The vessel will be extensively used in the eastern region, especially in the sensitive Gulf of Mannar and, to an extent, along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) with Sri Lanka, he added.
Vaibhav will be manned by 10 officers and 84 men under the command of Deputy Inspector General Sanjiv Trikha.
The Vice Admiral said the ship was fitted with state-of-the-art navigation and communication equipment, sensors and machines. The on-board features included an integrated bridge system, integrated machinery control system, power management system, high-power external fire-fighting system and one indigenous close-range naval gun along with an optical fire control system.
The ship was equipped to carry a helicopter and five high-speed boats. It was also capable of carrying pollution response equipment to combat oil spills in the sea. Besides, there were advanced global maritime distress and safety systems to carry out search and rescue operations in Indian Search and Rescue Region, he added.
The Vice Admiral said 19 new Coast Guard stations had been established in three years, and the number would reach 42 by the year-end. Apart from the existing Regional Headquarters of the Coast Guard, the North-East region would soon have a similar facility in Kolkata. Under the coastal surveillance system, 46 sub-stations had been set up and plans were afoot to establish 38 more such stations in the second phase, he said.
On the sidelines of the inaugural session, the Vice Admiral told reporters that dialogues were on with the Sri Lankan Navy and Coast Guard officials on the issue of fishermen crossing the IMBL.
Indian fishermen had been sensitised to stay in Indian waters, he said, adding that the Sri Lankan officials had been asked not to use physical force.
Source : http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/coast-guard-vessel-commissioned/article4738365.ece#!