INS Viraat could become underwater destination off Konkan coast | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
Apr 26, 2017-Wednesday
New Delhi
  • Humidity
  • Wind

INS Viraat could become underwater destination off Konkan coast

mumbai Updated: Mar 16, 2017 14:28 IST
Manasi Phadke
INS Viraat

INS Viraat could become underwater destination off Konkan coast. (HT file )

INS Viraat, the aircraft carrier the Indian Navy just decommissioned, could end up an underwater tourist attraction off the Konkan coast if the Maharashtra government’s plans go through. Otherwise, the Viraat, which was for long the Navy’s flagship, could end up being sold for scrap.

The proposal, put up by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), is to tow the ship into position somewhere in the Konkan and sink it and turn it into an underwater destination. All over the world, ‘wreck diving’ is a major attraction for scuba divers. Besides, over the years, the ship would turn into a healthy artificial reef and habitat for marine life.

An officer aboard the longest serving aircraft carrier, INS Viraat , at Naval Dockyard. The carrier was decommissioned on March 6. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)

“It seems like a good idea, but we will have to first check if it is financially and technically feasible. There was a similar proposal to turn the INS Vikrant into a museum, but it just lingered on and did not work out, so we want to cautiously take a call on this one. We will vet the proposal, but a final call can only be taken by the chief minister,” said a tourism department official.

A picture of INS Viraat taken on November 12, 1987. Capable of carrying 750 sailors and up to 26 aircrafts, the ship’s main strike aircraft were the Sea Harriers jets. (HT photo)

The proposal originated from the private company that runs the state government’s scuba diving centre at Tarkarli in Sindhudurg district.

Also read: After a 56-year tenure, INS Viraat will no longer report for duty

INS Viraat through the ages

Ageing minesweepers leave navy vulnerable