INS Viraat, the world’s longest-serving warship that was decommissioned by the Indian Navy three years ago, has arrived off the Alang coast in Gujarat for dismantling, an official said on Tuesday.
The aircraft carrier began its final journey from the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai on Saturday and reached the waters at Alang in Bhavnagar district on Monday evening.
It will be dismantled at the ship-breaking yard in Alang and then sold as scrap.
The warship, which was inducted into the Indian Navy in 1987, was purchased by Shree Ram Group for a sum of Rs 38.54 crore at an auction in July this year.
Government officials are on board the ship to carry out formalities as per the shipbreaking code, Shree Ram Group Chairman Mukesh Patel said.
“After all the formalities are completed, subject to weather conditions and tide, we are scheduling its beaching at our yard for dismantling during high tide at 1 pm on September 28,” he said.
INS Viraat holds the record for being the world’s longest-serving warship.
It was the second centaur-class aircraft carrier which was in service with the Indian Navy for 29 years before being decommissioned in March 2017.
There were proposals in the past to preserve it as a maritime museum.
In July 2019, the central government said in Parliament that the decision to scrap INS Viraat was taken in due consultation with the Indian Navy.
It is the second aircraft carrier to be broken down in India. In 2014, INS Vikrant was dismantled in Mumbai.
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 $65 million and it was re-commissioned on May 12, 1987.