Oct 22, Colombo: The Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) provided by the Indian Coast Guard to the Sri Lanka Navy last month was commissioned as Sri Lanka Coast Guard Ship Suraksha at a ceremony held on Saturday at the Colombo Harbor.
The State Minister of Defense, Ruwan Wijewardene as the Chief Guest commissioned the vessel, the first OPV to be inducted into its fleet, amid the blessings invoked by religious dignitaries representing Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Islamic religions.
He handed over the commissioning warrant to the Commanding Officer of SLCGS Suraksha, Captain Neville Ubayasiri, who read it out pledging the assumption of its command.
The Secretary to the Ministry of Defense Kapila Waidyaratne, the High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu, and the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah participated in the commissioning of the vessel.
The newly commissioned ship will be used by the Sri Lanka Coast Guard for patrolling and surveillance in Sri Lanka waters, humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations, prevention of maritime pollution as well as training purposes.
SLCGS Suraksha had earlier belonged to the Indian Coast Guard and it was officially handed over to the Sri Lanka Navy at a ceremony held at the Port of Kochi in India on 05 September 2017.
The OPV, with a displacement of 1,160 tons, is 74.10m in length and 11.4m in breadth. It can sail at a speed of 22 nautical miles per hour. Manned by a crew of 14 officers and 86 sailors, the vessel can cover 8,500 nautical miles maintaining a speed of 16 nautical miles per hour.
According to the Navy, Sri Lanka is in possession of an Exclusive Economic Zone of 200 nautical miles and will own a sea area spanning 1,738,062.24 square kilometers in the near future.
"Under the able guidance of the present Commander, Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah, Sri Lanka Navy is committed to the protection of this vast sea area belonging to the island nation. Accordingly, SLCGS Suraksha, the latest addition to the Sri Lanka Coast Guard fleet, is also expected to play a crucial role in strengthening the country's naval capabilities," the Navy Media Unit said.
the Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Kapila Jayampathy, the Chief of Staff of the Navy, Rear Admiral Sirimevan Ranasinghe, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Navy, Rear Admiral Neil Rosyro, the Director General Operation, Rear Admiral Piyal De Silva and the Director General of the Sri Lanka Coast Guard, Rear Admiral Samantha Wimalathunge also participated in the commissioning ceremony.