The decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Viraat set sail for the last time today, en route to Alang in Gujarat, where it will be dismantled and sold as scrap.
For Navy veterans who watched the huge vessel towed by tugboats, there was a lump in their throats as they said an emotional farewell to her from India Gate.
The former navy vessel Viraat began her final voyage from the shipyard where she was moored after being decommissioned in March 2017.
A Navy helicopter circling above our heads provided a majestic backdrop to Viraat’s last voyage from its home base for more than three decades.
A Defense spokesperson said “Viraat” was due to leave for Alang on Friday, but his departure was delayed by a day.
The ship had served the Indian Navy for 30 years before being decommissioned. He had served in the British Royal Navy as HMS Hermes and appointed INS Viraat after being inducted into the Indian Navy.
देहिनोऽस्मिन्यथा देहे कौमारं यौवनं जरा।
तथा देहान्तरप्राप्तिर्धीरस्तत्र न मुह्यति ।।
… the Spirit lives pic.twitter.com/RaAuCVPjGM
– SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) September 19, 2020
There have been attempts to convert “Viraat” into a museum or restaurant, but none of the plans have come to fruition.
Alang-based Shree Ram Group won the tender for the dismantling of the vessel. The company’s large-capacity tugs are towing the vessel to Alang and it would take two days to complete the trip, an official said.
Alang, a seaside town, is home to the world‘s largest shipbreaking yard.
“#Viraat Callsign” Romeo Two Two “- End of an Era, a glorious chapter in @indiannavy’s story. She leaves #Mumbai today for her final voyage. Old ships never die, their spirits endure.” , tweeted PRO Defense Mumbai.
Many social media users lamented the failure of successive governments to preserve Viraat and another Vikrant aircraft carrier as maritime museums to portray India’s rich naval heritage, instead of allowing them to be broken down and sold as scrap.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)