ICGS ‘Vishwast' is primarily designed for patrolling and policing maritime zones

The maritime security of the country's west coast got a boost on Wednesday with the induction of a state-of-the-art new generation Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) — ICGS ‘Vishwast' — into the Indian Coast Guard (ICG).

‘Vishwast,' which means ‘trustworthy,' is an OPV indigenously designed in-house and built by the Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL), the south Goa-based Defence shipyard, and was formally commissioned into the ICG by Defence Minister A.K. Antony at a ceremony at the GSL on Wednesday.

Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, Secretary Defence (Production) R.K. Singh, Director-General of the Indian Coast Guard Vice Admiral A.K. Chopra, JS (Naval Systems) Gyanesh Kumar, NM Flag Officer Commanding Goa Area Rear Admiral Sudhir Pillai and CMD GSL Rear Admiral (retired) Vineet Bakshi were present at the ceremony.

This OPV is the only vessel of this class in the world with the sophistication, large range of facilities for pollution control, fire fighting, search and rescue and patrolling provided in a 90-metre vessel, GSL officials said.

The ship is primarily designed for patrolling and policing maritime zones, search and rescue operations, maritime surveillance, anti-smuggling operations, pollution response against oil spillages and external fire-fighting. —

Focus on coastal security

Reiterating the Centre's thrust on coastal security, Mr. Antony said: “The government has approved all that the Coast Guard has asked for in terms of assets and manpower so that their capabilities are enhanced.

“In all, 14 new Coast Guard stations have been approved recently, and fast track procurement of ships, boats and aircraft has been permitted.”

He urged the Coast Guard to be more professional and committed to duty.

“The delineation of the continental shelf and the resulting increase in the Exclusive Economic Zone mean that the Indian Coast Guard will have more sea area to monitor,” Mr. Antony said, calling upon the Coast Guard to rise to the occasion and ensure that response time to emergency situations was further reduced.

He praised the GSL for efficiency and asked it to sustain its performance and focus on delivery period reduction and cost-competitiveness as regards defence shipbuilding.

Modernisation drive

In his welcome remarks, Rear Admiral Bakshi said the GSL was on a modernisation drive that included the installation of a shiplift and the creation of GRP ship production infrastructure.

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