Coast Guard patrol vessel Abheek inducted into force

Abheek, the second in a series of 20 waterjet-propelled fast patrol vessels being built by the Cochin Shipyard for the Coast Guard was inducted into the force by Defence Minister A.K. Antony in Kochi on Tuesday.

CGS Abheek will be commanded by Commandant Manish Kumar Negi and will operate from Chennai under the Commander, Coast Guard Region (East). It has a complement of 39 personnel.

Mr. Antony said Abheek, meaning fearless, demonstrated India’s shipbuilding capabilities, as the vessel was state-of-the-art with advanced navigation and communication equipment.

He said resources on land were getting scarce rapidly, forcing nations to turn to the oceans for sustenance. Protecting and policing the waters against a wide spectrum of threats is the topmost priority of the maritime forces. To this end, the coastal surveillance network and various other measures were in an advanced stage of implementation, he said.

Dwelling on the challenges facing the shipbuilding industry, he said all possible support would be extended to Cochin Shipyard to tide over tough times. “I will not turn my back on the yard, one of the country’s best,” he said.

Vice-Admiral Anurag G. Thapliyal, Director General of Coast Guard, said the ship was the 23rd commissioning that the force achieved in 2013, which was testimony to the country’s shipbuilding capabilities and the fast-paced modernisation of the Coast Guard fleet which boasted over 90 ships and craft and over 60 aircraft. He said the force shouldered greater responsibilities in the past five years. CGS Abheek, he said, would be ideal for surveillance, interdiction, search and rescue and medical evacuation.

Commodore (Retd) K. Subramaniam, Chairman and Managing Director of the yard, said the third vessel in the series was undergoing trials in order to be ready for delivery by January 15. The fourth and the fifth would also be delivered by the end of the financial year, he said.

The FPV, he said, attained a top speed of 33 knots on its first outing. The project faced some teething troubles in the initial stages of building, but every challenge was taken as an opportunity. The troubles had been overcome and now the yard had the capability and capacity to take on more work, he said.

Designed by the Kochi-based Smart Engineering and Design Solutions Ltd (SEDS), the FPV is 50 metres long and displaces 290 tonnes. It has an endurance of 1,500 nautical miles at 13 knot speed.

An advanced platform, the vessel sports a gyro-stabilised 30-mm turret gun besides advanced weapons, navigation and communication systems with possibly a miniature hull-mounted sonar, which will enable it to perform multiple tasks. It has an integrated bridge management system, an integrated machinery control system and an indigenous fire control system.

More In: Kochi