The Coast Guard District Headquarters in Fort Kochi on Wednesday received a replacement for its soon-to-be decommissioned ship Laxmibai when a new fast patrol vessel (FPV), ICGS Abhinav, was commissioned into service by Coast Guard Director General Vice-Admiral Anurag G. Thapliyal at a ceremony at the Cochin Shipyard.
The FPV, the third in a series of 20 such vessels being built by the yard, would enhance the surveillance capabilities of the force along the Kerala coast as the ship would be based in Kochi, said Inspector General SPS Basra, Coast Guard’s Western Region Commander.
The coast of Kerala being a high-intensity fishing zone figured majorly in the calculus of the Coast Guard, said Vice-Admiral Thapliyal.
The commissioning of three ships in 33 days was testimony to the resolve, professionalism and capabilities of the Cochin Shipyard, he said. The Coast Guard was on the path of rapid expansion. Besides augmenting its surface and aerial fleet, the force focused on infrastructure-building. He said the coastal surveillance network being put in place to track activities close to the coast saw setting up of 46 coastal radar stations, in the last stage of completion, in phase-I while 38 more were in the pipeline in phase-II. He said the State was extending support to the initiatives by registering fishing boats and facilitating conduct of outreach programmes.
On the responsibilities of the force, he said the Coast Guard was building additional assets to help the country attain its wide-ranging maritime interests. Three more ships of the class would be delivered before the end of the financial year, said officials of the Cochin Shipyard.
ICGS Abhinav, which is equipped with advanced navigation and communication sensors and medium-range armament, is skippered by Commandant (JG) Raman Kumar. It is manned by 39 personnel. The ship will be deployed on surveillance, search and rescue, interdiction and medical evacuation duties.