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Aircraft Carrier INS Viraat, India's Longest Serving Warship, To Be Dismantled In Gujarat

INS Viraat, the aircraft carrier that served the Indian Navy for 30 years before being decommissioned three years ago, is likely to be towed from Mumbai to Alang in Gujarat's Bhavnagar district next month to be dismantled and sold as scrap, an official said.

The longest serving warship, inducted into the Indian Navy in 1987, was bought by Shree Ram Group for ₹ 38.54 crore at an auction conducted by the Metal Scrap Trade Corporation Limited last month.

It will likely be towed from the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai to ship breaking yard at Alang next month, the company's chairman Mukesh Patel said.

"We have made the entire payment and received delivery order from the government. So, depending on the monsoon condition, it will be towed to Alang from the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai where it is stationed now, most likely by mid or end of September after receiving the required permission from the Directorate General of Shipping," Mr Patel said.

It will take around three days for the ship to be towed from Mumbai to Alang. It will be scrapped at the country's first certified eco-friendly ship recycling yard in nine to 12 months, he said.

INS Viraat, the second Centaur-class aircraft carrier, was in service for 30 years before being decommissioned in March 2017.

There were proposals in the past to preserve it as a maritime museum.

In July last year, the central government said in Parliament that the decision to scrap INS Viraat was taken in due consultation with the Indian Navy.

The aircraft carrier, in its earlier avatar, had won the Falklands War against Argentina in 1982 for the Royal British Navy.

It weighs about 27,800 tonnes and served in the British Navy as HMS Hermes from November 1959 to April 1984 and after refurbishment, was commissioned into the Indian Navy.

In late 80s, the Indian Navy purchased it at a cost of USD 65 million and it was re-commissioned on May 12, 1987.

INS Viraat is the second aircraft carrier to be broken down in India. In 2014, INS Vikrant was dismantled in Mumbai.

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