Stepping up cooperation between the two coast guards, India today handed over an off-shore patrol vessel, Varuna, to Sri Lanka, the Indian maritime security agency said, according to the Press Trust of India.
The ship was decommissioned with traditional honours on August 23 to facilitate the handing over at Kochi.
India has earlier handed over two off-shore patrol vessels or OPVs of the Indian Coast Guard, Varaha in April 2006 and Vigraha in August 2008.
“The handing over of the Indian Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Vessel to Government of Sri Lanka for training and surveillance purposes is a part of India’s continuing efforts for cementing the historical and cultural ties between the two countries,” the coast guard said in a statement.
The ship has been allocated pennant number SLCG-60 by Sri Lanka Coast Guard and will be commanded by Captain Neville Amara Ubayasiri.
Prior to the ship’s departure to Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Coast Guard crew will be imparted familiarisation and on job training by Indian Coast Guard workup team on ship handling, bridge navigation, engine room controls and machineries.
Rear Admiral SS Ranasinghe, Chief of Staff, Sri Lanka Navy was also present during the ceremony.
Handing over ships, patrol vessels, interceptor boats to littoral states in the Indian Ocean like the Seychelles, Maldives, Mauritius and helping them in capacity-building has been a vital element of the Indian diplomacy. (Colombo Gazette)