The Indian Coast Guard Ship Kanaklata Barua was commissioned in Kolkata by Jiwesh Nandan, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Defence (MoD), on Tuesday via video conferencing in the presence of DG K. Natarajan, Director General of Indian Coast Guard, Rear Admiral (Retd) V.K. Saxena, Chairman & Managing Director of GRSE Ltd, IG A.K. Harbola, Commander, Coast Guard Region (NE), and other MoD officials. This is the second time in the annals of Indian maritime history that Coast Guard ships are commissioned through digital medium, maintaining the strict protocol of social distancing in the backdrop of Covid-19.
Indian Coast Guard ship Kanaklata Barua, the last in the series of five Fast Patrol Vessels (FPVs), has been designed and built indigenously by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd, Kolkata, a fine example of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ and is fitted with state-of-the-art navigation and communication equipment, sensor and machinery. The 49m ship displaces about 310 tonnes, propelled by three MTU 4000 Series engines designed to attain a maximum speed of 35 knots. The ship is designed to carry one RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) high speed boats and one Gemini boat for swift boarding and Search & Rescue operations.
The ship is named in honour of Kanaklata Barua, a freedom fighter who was martyred while leading a procession carrying the Indian national flag during the 1942 Quit India movement. ICGS Kanaklata Barua is replacement of a similar named vessel which was in commission from 1997 to 2018. The ship is commanded by Commandant (JG) Subhash Kapoor.
The ship, on joining the Coast Guard fleet, will be deployed extensively for EEZ surveillance, Coastal Security and other duties as enshrined in the Coast Guard charter of duties, to safeguard the maritime interests of the Nation. With the commissioning of this ship, Indian Coast Guard has 151 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 Indian Coast Guard has been a pioneer in inducting indigenous assets. In continuation of efforts to maximise the indigenous content in new assets, ICG is proud to state that the ship commissioned today, has about 70% indigenous content, thus providing the necessary fillip to the Indian shipbuilding industry. True to its motto “Vayam Rakshamah” meaning “We Protect”, ICG has to its credit of saving about 9,750 lives at sea, 12,500 lives as part of assistance rendered to civil authorities and undertook 384 medical evacuations, which works out to one life saved every two days.
The deterrence created by the ICG is not limited to the Indian waters, but collaboration with friendly littoral states as per provisions of bilateral cooperation agreements resulted in successful apprehension and seizure of drugs in Indian Ocean Region (IOR).The real time information sharing, close coordination and understanding between ICG and other agencies has been the key success of these operations. The hawk eye vigil by the ICG of the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) has ensured seizure of about Rs 7,000 crore contraband, 1,600 foreign fishing vessels with 13,000 miscreants were apprehended for fishing illegally in Indian waters, during the same period. ICG remains committed to ensure ‘Safe, Secure and Clean seas’ around the Indian subcontinent.