INS Viraat: Hopes to turn warship into a vintage museum fading

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October 25, 2020 1:11 PM

Envitech Marine Consultants Pvt Ltd, a Mumbai based private company which had evinced interest to convert the giant naval ship into a museum is yet to garner the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Ministry of Defence to get its sanction for the project.

The company had expressed its desire to undertake the project last month and is yet to hear from the ministry.The company had expressed its desire to undertake the project last month and is yet to hear from the ministry.

The possibility of the Indian Navy warship Viraat turning into a heritage museum is fading as the ship is being moved towards its scrap yard by the company which had purchased it for dismantling, news agency PTI reported. The company is reported to have waited for more than three weeks before deciding to take it to the scrap yard in Alang, Gujarat.

Envitech Marine Consultants Pvt Ltd, a Mumbai based private company which had evinced interest to convert the giant naval ship into a museum is yet to garner the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Ministry of Defence to get its sanction for the project. The company had expressed its desire to undertake the project last month and is yet to hear from the ministry.

Commissioned to serve the Indian Navy in 1987, the warship defended the coastal boundaries of the country from its enemies for more than three decades and was retired in 2017. The retired warship was bought by the Shree Ram Group, an Alang based ship breaker, for a whopping amount of Rs 38.54 crore in an auction.

Shree Ram Group Chairman Mukesh Patel told PTI that the ship is being pulled to its scrap yard. Patel said that the ship was about 3000 feet away in the Arabian sea and has now been brought closer at about 1500 feet from the sea. Patel further said that the warship will be brought further close to the coast during the next high tidal cycle as the tides will aid the movement of the vessel.

Patel also said that the Mumbai based Envitech Marine Consultants Pvt Ltd had enquired whether the ageing warship could be salvaged and turned into the museum. Patel said that he had told the company that the ship could be salvaged but it would be an expensive affair as the latest technology will be used in the process.

The Shree Ram Group had also reportedly sought about Rs 100 crore for selling the ship to Mumbai based Envitech Marine along with a NOC from the Ministry of Defence. Asked about the monetary component of the deal, Patel said that the monetary part will be discussed only after the Defence Ministry issues an NOC.

On the other hand, V K Sharma, Managing Director of the Envitech Marine had expressed optimism that his company would be able to procure the NOC from the ministry. He had also claimed that the state government of Goa was also viewing the project favourably and was supportive of his patriotic efforts to salvage the vintage ship.

In 2014, another old warship Vikrant, which was retired from the Indian Navy, was dismantled in Mumbai. Before getting commissioned into the Indian Navy, Viraat had also served the British Royal Navy. Known as ‘HMS Hermes’, the ship had served the British Royal Navy for about a quarter of the century before getting refurbished and joining the Indian Navy.

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