Sept 05, Kochi: Sri Lanka's Coast Guard has received an off-shore patrol vessel (OPV) from India as part of maritime cooperation between the coast guards of the two countries. Indian Coast Guard said the off-shore patrol vessel, Varuna, was handed over to Sri Lanka today.
Director General, Indian Coast Guard Rajendra Singh formally handed over ICGS Varuna to Director General, Sri Lanka Coast Guard Rear Admiral Samantha Wimalathunge during a colourful ceremony on 05 Sep 17 at Kochi. Chief of Staff, Sri Lanka Navy Rear Admiral SS Ranasinghe, was also present during the ceremony.
"The handing over of the Indian Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Vessel to Government of Sri Lanka for training and surveillance purposes is part of India's continuing efforts for cementing the historical and cultural ties between the two countries," the Indian Coast Guard said in a statement.
The ship was decommissioned with traditional honors on August 23 to facilitate the handing over.
India has earlier handed over two OPVs of the Indian Coast Guard, Varaha in April 2006 and Vigraha in August 2008.
The ship has been allocated pennant number SLCG-60 by Sri Lanka Coast Guard and will be commanded by Captain (ASW) Neville Amara Ubayasiri.
Prior to the ship's departure to Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Coast Guard crew will be imparted familiarization and On Job Training by Indian Coast Guard Workup Team on ship handling, bridge navigation, engine room controls and machineries.
DG Rajendra Singh during his speech at the transfer ceremony, highlighted the significance of mutually beneficial relations shared between both the countries. He also fondly remembered the contributions of the erstwhile training ship and wished good luck to the Sri Lankan crew in all future endeavors.
The Director General, Sri Lanka Coast Guard conveyed deep gratitude of Sri Lanka Government to the Government of India for the transfer. He also thanked the DG Coast Guard for proactive support and assistance for transfer of the ship to Sri Lanka Coast Guard.