Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma commissioned INS Shakti, a 27,550-tonne fleet tanker at a ceremony held at the Naval Dockyard here on Saturday.
INS Shakti, one of Indian Navy's biggest ships and built by the Fincantieri Shipyard in Italy, can carry 15,000 tonnes of different varieties of fuel for ships and aircraft and 500 tonnes of dry cargo, including ammunition and provisions for the fleet to take up multiple ship replenishment operations simultaneously. It also has workshop facilities to provide frontline support to fleet ships and can operate heavy helicopters.
It is equipped with state-of-the-art sensors an electronic warfare suite, most of it being indigenous. It was designed to operate as a command platform, according to the Navy.
This is the second fleet tanker built by the Italian yard for the Indian Navy, the first operating on the West Coast and was delivered within nine months after the first ship.
The induction of INS Shakti signifies a new era of modern world class technologies for the Indian Navy and a major leap for the Navy as it would improve the influence of the Navy, Admiral Verma said. It also indicated the unstinting support from the government to the Navy in its capacity building exercise.
Italian Ambassador to India Giacomo Sanfelice D' Monteforte, Chief of Staff of Eastern Naval Command Vice-Admiral Sunil Lanba, Controller of Warship Production and Acquisition N.N. Kumar were among those present.
‘Double the reach'
Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Naval Command Anup Singh said INS Shakti doubled the reach and defence capabilities of the Eastern Fleet.
Building of fleet tankers indicated the special relationship his company has with India, said president of Fincantieri shipyard Corrado Antonini.
The shipyard was building important vessels for India and excellent technology was incorporated in INS Shakti and it has cutting edge systems, he said.
Commanding Officer of the ship Capt. Ravi Malhotra read out the ‘Commissioning Warrant' and the naval ensign was hoisted on board for the first time and breaking the commissioning pennant as the National Anthem was played, marked the formal commissioning of the ship.
INS Shakti is the third tanker of the same name, the first one of 3,000 tonnes displacement and World War II vintage in service from 1953 to 1967 and the second one was a large ship built by a German yard served the Navy for 31 years. Adm. Verma introduced to the gathering the Commanding Officers of the second ship: Vice-Admiral Narendra Singh, Commodores R.P. Singh, K.L. Ratan, N.V.S. Kumar and G.V. Babu. The last mentioned is the present CO of INS Circars.
‘It signifies a new era of modern world class technologies for the Indian Navy'