Over a month after decommissioned Indian Naval Ship (INS) Vikrant was sold, it was on Wednesday moved out of the Naval dock and taken to a ship breaking yard in south Mumbai.
“The ship started from the naval dock at 9.40 AM and reached the yard at around 2.30 PM,” said a source in the Western Naval Command.
The ship will not be broken for now as a petition seeking that it should be converted into a museum is pending in the Supreme Court, the source said.
“We wanted the ship shifted before the monsoon,” he said, adding the vessel could face threat of sinking if moved after the onset of monsoon.
Last month, IB Commercial Pvt Ltd had won the bid for Rs 60 crore to scrap the decommissioned aircraft carrier, which played an important role in the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
Sources in the defence also said that artefacts of the ship have been removed. “More than 60 per cent of the artefacts have been moved to the Maritime History Society in Mumbai while rest have been shifted to Naval Aviation Museum in Goa,” said the source, adding that smaller relics will be shifted to various museums and motivational centres.
Earlier, the Maharashtra government had expressed its inability to maintain Vikrant, Indian Navy’s first aircraft carrier which was commissioned in 1961. It was decommissioned in January 1997. In January 2014, during the hearing of a PIL which opposed the plan to scrap the ship, the Union Ministry of Defence told the Bombay High Court that it had completed its operational life.
The Maharashtra government had stated that to preserve it as a museum would not be financially viable.The High Court subsequently dismissed the PIL. Now, the petition is pending in the Supreme Court. The Majestic-class aircraft carrier, purchased from Britain in 1957, played a key role in enforcing the Naval blockade of East Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971.
The parties concerned have been directed to submit reports on the current status of construction.