The disused Indian Navy aircraft carrier “Viraat” will begin its final journey from the shipyard to Alang in Gujarats Bhavnagar district on Saturday, where it will be decommissioned.
- The Viraat aircraft carrier, which was at the Mumbai shipyard, will soon be dismantled at a shipbreaking yard in Alang, Gujarat.
- It was sold to Gujarat’s Shree Ram Green Ship Recycling Industries at an electronic auction by Metal Scrap Trade Corporation Limited (MSTC), a Navy official said Tuesday.
- Various attempts by the Navy to preserve the aircraft carrier, by turning it into a museum or by other means, failed.
- The government informed parliament in July last year that it had been decided to scrap the aircraft carrier.
“Shree Ram Group has insured the carrier for Rs. 38 crore … A delivery note must be passed. Once signed, there is a deadline within which it must be withdrawn, ”an official said
- Viraat, a Centaur-class aircraft carrier weighing 27,800 tonnes, served in the British Navy as HMS Hermes for 25 years from November 1959 to April 1984.
- It was commissioned by the Indian Navy in May 1987 after its refit and operation of Harrier fighter jets.
- It was decommissioned in March 2017 and since then the Navy had incurred costs for its maintenance, such as the supply of electricity and water, and repairs. It also took up space in the busy shipyard.
- There were demands from various sectors for Viraat not to go the way of Vikrant, the first Indian aircraft carrier that was eventually demolished. Several states submitted proposals, but none were successful.
- The Andhra Pradesh government, headed by former Prime Minister Chandrababu Naidu, had made several attempts.
- In October 2016, it submitted a proposal for the transformation into an aeronautical museum, including tourism and hotel components, on a commercial basis as part of a joint venture with the Center. But the Defense Ministry rejected the proposal two months later.
- In 2018, the Maharashtra cabinet approved a proposal to transform the airline into a museum and visitor center on the basis of a public-private partnership and issued a tender. But there were no buyers.