As the Sun set on the western horizon off Mumbai, the Navy bid adieu to aircraft carrier INS Viraat.
The ship which has seen six decades of service in two different navies now heads towards an uncertain future.
— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) March 6, 2017
There has been nothing concrete on whether she will be converted into a museum or end up in the scrapyard for an ignominious fate like INS Vikrant.
An NDTV report speaks about a third possibility for INS Viraat – a transformation that not only sounds interesting but worthy of a ship of her repute.
According to the report, Chief of the Indian Navy Admiral Sunil Lanba is mooting a proposal to turn the ship into a marine museum.
He says that the ship will be sunk at a major tourist harbor. It will rest there with other ships and will become a major attraction for divers.
The idea sounds great. In fact, such a plan not only promotes adventure tourism in India but will also help prevent the inglorious end to a ship that has served so gloriously.
Adventure lovers enjoy the chance of exploring a ship of INS Viraat’s kind in the depths. Also, for a ship the waters might be the best place for a permanent rest.
Admiral Lanba says that he will put forward his proposal. There is still around four to six months before INS Viraat heads for the scrapyard.
Andhra Pradesh had expressed interest in having the ship as a museum but differences in sharing of maintenance cost has stalled talks.
INS Vikrant, India’s first aircraft carrier, was sold for scrap after a few years of service as a museum ship in Maharashtra. Auto giant Bajaj used a part of the metal of the carrier in a series of bikes.
The INS Viraat first served as HMC Hermes with the Royal Navy. She was commissioned into Indian Navy in 1986.