Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday commissioned three Indian Coast Guard (ICG) ships including one Offshore Patrol Vessel and two interceptor boats at Goa, via video conferencing from here.
“This is the first time in the annals of Indian maritime history that a Coast Guard ship was commissioned through digital medium, maintaining the strict protocol of social distancing in the backdrop of pandemic COVID -19,” said ICG in a release. ICG is proud to state that the ships commissioned today, has about 70% indigenous content, thus providing the necessary fillip to the Indian shipbuilding industry, the release reads.
‘Sachet’ meaning ‘Alert’ is a projection of Indian Coast Guard’s will and commitment ‘To be ever vigilant for Serving and Protecting’ the maritime interest of the Nation. The 105 metre long ship “Sachet” displaces approximately 2,350 tons and is propelled by two 9,100 KW diesel engines designed to attain a maximum speed of 26 knots, with an endurance of 6,000 nautical miles.
Indian Coast Guard Ship Sachet, the first in the series of five offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) has been designed and built indigenously by Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) and is fitted with state-of-the-art navigation and communication equipment, sensor and machinery.
The ship is designed to carry a twin-engine helicopter and four high speed boats and one inflatable boat for swift boarding and search & rescue operations. The ship is also capable of carrying limited pollution response equipment to undertake oil spill pollution response at sea.
The ships, on joining the Coast Guard fleet, will be deployed extensively for Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) Surveillance, Coastal Security and other duties as enshrined in the Coast Guard charter of duties, to safeguard the maritime interests of the Nation.
The Interceptor Boats C-450 and C-451 are indigenously designed and built by L&T Shipyard, Hazira and is fitted with the latest navigation and Communication equipment. The two 30 metre boats are capable of achieving speeds in excess of 45 Knots and iare designed for the high-speed interception, close coast patrol and low-intensity maritime operations.
“With the commissioning of these ships, Indian Coast Guard has reached a landmark 150 ships and Boats and 62 aircraft. Further, 40 ships are at various stages of construction at different Indian Shipyards and 16 Advanced Light Helicopters are under production at HAL, Bengaluru, which will provide the added strength to the surveillance capabilities of ICG to deal with the ever-dynamic maritime challenges,” the release added.
The ICG has to its credit of saving about 400 lives at sea, 4,500 lives as part of assistance rendered to civil authorities and undertook 32 medical evacuations in the year 2019 alone. Hawk eye vigil of the Indian EEZ has ensured seizure of Rs 2,000 crore contraband, detainment of 30 foreign fishing vessels with 119 miscreants for fishing illegally in Indian waters during the same period.
Addressing the officials of Indian Coast Guard and Goa shipyard limited during commission of ships and boats, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said: “The commissioning of these ships is an important milestone in India’s coastal capability building process. Indian Coast Guard, which began its service with a fleet strength of just seven ships, has achieved significant feats of 62 aircraft and 150 surface vessels.”
“The rising power of our sea guards’, Indian Coast Guard and Indian Shipbuilding industry are pride for the country. I commend the Indian Coast Guard and Goa shipyard limited for this initiative of commissioning through digital means. I am confident that the Coast Guard Ships being inducted from today onwards will increase their strength and will help in addressing the challenges related to Maritime terrorism, Drug trafficking, smuggling, maritime law enforcement and the search and rescue of threatened mariners,” he added.
Singh said that oceans are the lifelines of global prosperity.
“The oceans are the lifelines of global prosperity. Safe, secure and clean seas present us with great economic opportunities to build our Nations. India is an emerging maritime power and our prosperity depend on the sea. India is a responsible maritime power, oceans have been our key priorities, which is evident from Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s vision “SAGAR” (Security And Growth for All in the Region). The Indian Coast Guard continues to work with their resolve to guard our sea shores 24×7 with great determination,” he said.
Minister of State (MoS) Defence Shripad Y Naik, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar, Director General of Indian Coast Guard Krishnaswamy Natarajan and other Defence dignitaries were part of the video conference.