After having served the Indian Navy for 33 years, Indian Naval Ship (INS) Dunagiri was decommissioned on Wednesday.
Named after one of the Himalayan peaks, INS Dunagiri entered service on May 5, 1977, along with other vessels of its Nilgiri class to form the 14th Frigate Squadron.
Vice-admiral (retired) S Jain was INS Dunagiri’s first commanding officer and went on to become the flag-officer-commanding-in-chief of the Western Naval Command. “She is one ship which would steer clear of almost all complexities, and emerge triumphant even in most adverse conditions,” said the 78-year-old former Navy officer.
According to Navy officers, the old INS Delhi, old INS Talwar and INS Dunagiri were considered to be the luckiest ships to have served the ranks.]
INS Dunagiri had travelled from Kandla in Gujarat to Mumbai — a distance that takes at least 20 hours — at a constant speed of 20 knots just a week before it was decommissioned.
Officers said most ships would undergo some wear and tear if it had to sustain such speed for 20 hours. “Had it not been for the hull, the ship could still have continued,” said Jain.
Rear admiral (retired) SK Das also has fond memories of the ship.
“I commanded her, and my son also had the distinction of becoming the commanding officer. I can safely say she (INS Dunagiri) has contributed a lot to my family.”
The Nilgiri class frigates are updated versions of the Leander class, designed and built by Mazagon Dock Limited between 1972-81. The lead ship of this class, INS Nilgiri, was decommissioned in 1996, and subsequently 2005 and 2007 saw INS Himgiri and INS Udaygiri being decommissioned.
Only two ships, INS Taragiri and INS Vindhyagiri, remain in service in this class. But these two ships will also be decommissioned once the Shivalik class of frigates enters service.