The Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) commissioned its newest patrol vessel SLNS Parakramabahu (P625) during a ceremony at Colombo harbour on August 22.
The commissioning of the Ex-Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) vessel was ceremoniously conducted by Maithripala Sirisena, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
The ceremony was attended by General (Rtd) Shantha Kottegoda, the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence; Cheng Xueyuan, the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Sri Lanka; Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, the Chief of Defence Staff; Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, the Commander of the Army; Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva, the Commander of the Navy; Air Marshal Sumangala Dias, the Commander of the Air Force.
Besides, the Chief of Staff of the Navy Rear Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenna, Deputy Chief of Staff and Director General Operations Rear Admiral Niraja Attygalle, Director Generals and Directors of the Navy, senior officers and sailors were also present.
The vessel, commanded by Captain Nalindra Jayasinghe, has a length of 112m, width of 12.4m, displacement of 2300 tons and a maximum speed of 25 knots. The ship’s crew is consists of 18 officers and 92 sailors.
The ship is a Type 053H2G (NATO codename: Jiangwei I) class frigate, built in 1988-1991 by Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai, China. She was commissioned in 1994 as Tongling (542) and was deployed for duties with the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). Tongling was decommissioned in 2015 and was transferred to Sri Lanka Navy in September 2018 as P625.
The ship has undergone a major refit and converted into an Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) in Shanghai, China before the hand over to Sri Lanka under the agreements between the Ministry of Defence of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of National Defence of China on the provisions of military assistance.
Agreement on donating the vessel to Sri Lanka Navy was signed on 13th October 2016 and the total cost of the ship’s modification is approximately USD 28 million. The vessel was officially handed over to the SLN on June 5 this year at the Naval Shipyard in Shanghai and arrived at the port of Colombo on July 8.
The ship is equipped with weapons, communications, aviation and other operating systems. The ship will be utilized for patrol and surveillance missions in the deep seas around Sri Lanka providing the maritime security and assistance to search and rescue operations.