Indian Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Vessel ‘Sarthak’ launched

by Editorial

In an impressive ceremony at Goa Shipyard Limited, Yard 1236, the fourth in the series of five Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) for the Indian Coast Guard, was launched and rechristened as Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘Sarthak’ by Veena Ajay Kumar, wife of Dr Ajay Kumar, IAS, Defence Secretary, adhering to the government’s protocol on global pandemic Covid-19. This unique launching ceremony was conducted through video conferencing from Coast Guard Headquarters at New Delhi, in the presence of Dr Ajay Kumar, Defence Secretary, DG K. Natarajan, Director General Indian Coast Guard, Chairman & Managing Director, Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) and MoD officials. Coincidently, the ship’s keel was laid by Dr Ajay Kumar, IAS as Secretary Defence Production on 10 Nov 2018.The 4th Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPVs) has been designed & built indigenously by Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) in line with PM’s vision of ‘Make in India’.

 The Ship is fitted with state-ofthe-art Navigation and Communication equipment, sensor and machinery. The 105 m ship displaces approximately 2350 tons and is propelled by two 9100 KW diesel engines designed to attain a maximum speed of 26 knots, with an endurance of 6000 Nm. The sustenance and reach, coupled with the latest equipment and system, provides her the capability to perform the role of a command platform and undertake tasks to fulfil the Coast Guard charter. The ship is designed to embark and carry a twin-engine helicopter, 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.

 Commending the Indian Coast Guard and GSL for this initiative of launching through digital means, Dr Ajay Kumar said that it was reassuring to witness the growing strength of Indian Coast Guard, and capabilities of Indian shipbuilding industry, a strong supporting pillar for production and maintenance of ships of Indian maritime forces. He also commended the professionalism of Goa Shipyard in meeting the timelines of the contract despite the pandemic Covid-19. Speaking on the occasion, DG K. Natarajan, Director General Indian Coast Guard said that launching marks an important milestone for any ship since she touches the water for the first time, the place where she belongs through her entire service life. He also brought out that the mere presence of Indian Coast Guard unit at sea serves dual objectives of Deterrence and Reassurance. It deters people with ill-intent and at the same time reassures maritime community, who look up to Indian Coast Guard as ‘Saviours at sea’, as they are aware that Indian Coast Guard will swiftly respond to any distress call or life-threatening situation at sea. He conveyed his appreciation to CMD, GSL and Coast Guard Refit and Production Superintendent (Goa) and their teams for their dedicated efforts which culminated in launching of this majestic ship.

 Indian Coast Guard has been a pioneer in inducting indigenous assets which has enabled it to remain operationally available throughout the year. The ship launched today, has about 70% indigenous content, thus providing the necessary fillip to the Indian shipbuilding industry and a giant leap towards achieving ‘Aatmanirbar Bharat’. The ship 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. In addition to the 05 OPV project, 52 ships are at various stages of construction at different Indian Shipyards and 16 Advanced Light Helicopters are under production at M/s HAL, Bengaluru, which will provide the added strength to the surveillance capabilities of Indian Coast Guard to deal with the dynamic maritime challenges.

 True to its motto “Vayam Rakshamah” meaning “We Protect”, Indian Coast Guard has to its credit of saving about 9,730 lives at sea, 12,500 lives as part of assistance rendered to civil authorities and undertook 400 medical evacuations. Indian Coast Guard saves one life every second day at sea. The deterrence created by the Indian Coast Guard 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 Intelligence agencies has been the key success of these operations. The hawk eye vigil by the Indian Coast Guard of the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) has ensured seizure of Rs 6,800 crore contraband. Indian Coast Guard remains committed to ensure ‘Safe, Secure and Clean seas’ around the Indian subcontinent.

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