India has handed over an ex Indian Coast Guard offshore patrol vessel (OPV), ICGS Varuna to the Sri Lankan Coast Guard today at Naval Base, Kochi.
ICGS Varuna was handed over to Rear Admiral Samantha Wimalathunge, Director General (DG) of the Sri Lanka Coast Guard (SLCG) in the presence of Rajendra Singh, DG of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG). Rear Admiral SS Ranasinghe, Chief of Staff, Sri Lanka Navy was also present during the ceremony.
DG Rajendra Singh, during his speech at the transfer ceremony, highlighted the significance of mutually-beneficial relations shared between both the countries. RAdm Wimalathunge conveyed deep gratitude to the Government of India for the transfer.
“The handing over of the Indian Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Vessel to Government of Sri Lanka for training and surveillance purposes is part of India’s continuing efforts for cementing the historical and cultural ties between the two countries,” the Indian Coast Guard said in a statement.
The ship has been allocated pennant number SLCG-60 by Sri Lanka Coast Guard and will be commanded by Captain Neville Amara Ubayasiri.
Prior to the ship’s departure to Sri Lanka, the SLCG crew will be imparted familiarisation and on job training by Indian Coast Guard work up team on ship handling, bridge navigation, engine room controls and machinery.
Handing over ships, patrol vessels, interceptor boats to littoral states in the Indian Ocean like the Seychelles, Maldives, Mauritius and helping them in capacity-building has been a vital element of the Indian diplomacy.
About ICGS Varuna:
ICGS Varuna is a Vikram-class offshore patrol vessel built by Mazagon Dock Limited Mumbai for the Indian Coast Guard.
ICGS Varuna was commissioned into service on February 27, 1988, by the then Defence Minister K. C. Pant and was decommissioned on August 23, 2017.
ICGS Varuna, since her commissioning was deployed for a total of 10,632 days, trained a total of 720 officers, saved 77 lives, total catch (Gold or contraband) Rs 92.56 crore, and visited 22 foreign ports.
The vessels in this class are 74 metres (243 ft) long with a beam of 11.4 metres (37 ft) and are armed with a Mantra Defense Lynx optronic-directed 40mm 60 cal Bofors Mk3 AA gun or dual 30mm CRN 91 Naval Gun.
They are powered by two SEMT-Pielstick 16 PA6 V280 diesel engines driving two propellers.
The vessels are equipped with pollution control equipment, two firefighting monitors, a four-tonne crane. They also carry diving equipment, two RIB inspection crafts, a grp launch, and a hangar for a light helicopter.
The Vikram-class vessels have an air-conditioned accommodation for a crew of 11 officers and 85 enlisted sailors.
A derivative of this has been exported to Mauritius as the MCGS Barracuda.