Hydrographic survey ship INS Sandhayak, the first of its class indigenously designed and built, was decommissioned after 40 years of service, at the Naval Dockyard Visakhapatnam on Friday in a low-key event attended only by in-station officers and sailors in line with COVID-19 protocols.
At sunset, the Naval Ensign and the Commissioning Pennant were brought down for the last time onboard INS Sandhayak in the presence of Vice Adm A.B. Singh, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C), Eastern Naval Command (ENC), symbolising the decommissioning, a Navy statement said.
The ship was conceptualised by the then Chief Hydrographer to the Government of India, Rear Adm FL Fraser, who had a strong desire for indigenously designed and built hydrographic survey vessels in India, the Navy said.
The design was finalised by Naval Headquarters and the construction began at Garden Reach Ship Builders Limited (GRSE) Kolkata (then Calcutta) by laying the keel in 1978. The ship was commissioned into the Navy on February 26, 1981 by Vice Adm M.K. Roy, then FOC-in-C, ENC.
“Since commissioning, the ship has been the alma mater, nurturing the hydrographers of the Navy and laying the foundation for a complete hydrographic coverage of the peninsular waters,” the Navy said. Also, the success of her design paved the way for all the survey ships in various modifications till recently, it stated.
200 major surveys
According to the Navy, the ship had undertaken approximately 200 major hydrographic surveys and numerous minor surveys in both the east and west coasts of the country, the Andaman seas and neighbouring countries too.
The ship has also been an active participant in many significant operations such as Op Pawan – assisting the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka in 1987, Op Sarong, Op Rainbow - rendering humanitarian assistance post 2004 Tsunami and participation in the maiden joint Indo-US HADR Exercise ‘Tiger-Triumph’.
In its 40 years of service, the ship saw 22 Commanding Officers (CO) at the helm, with the last CO taking charge of it on June 17, 2019, the Navy statement added.