Kochi, Sep 5 (IANS) The Indian Coast Guard on Tuesday handed over offshore patrol vessel ICGS Varuna to the Sri Lankan Coast Guard, an official statement said.
The patrol vessel was handed over to Rear Admiral Samantha Wimalathunge, the Director General of the Sri Lanka Coast Guard by Rajendra Singh, Director General of the Indian Coast Guard, at a ceremony here on Tuesday.
Rear Admiral S.S. Ranasinghe, Chief of Staff, Sri Lanka Navy, 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.
India has earlier handed over two offshore patrol vessels of the Indian Coast Guard — Varaha in April 2006 and Vigraha in August 2008.
ICGS Varuna, named after sea god Varuna, was commissioned in the Indian Coast Guard in February 1988.
The ship was decommissioned with traditional honours on August 23 this year to facilitate the handing over.
The ship has been allocated pennant number SLCG-60 by the Sri Lanka Coast Guard and will be commanded by Captain (ASW) Neville Amara Ubayasiri.
Prior to the ship’s departure, the Sri Lanka Coast Guard crew will be imparted familiarisation and On-Job Training by the Indian Coast Guard Workup Team on ship handling, bridge navigation, engine room controls and machinery.
Coast Guard DG Rajendra Singh, in his remarks 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 endeavours.
The Sri Lanka Coast Guard D-G conveyed the gratitude of the Sri Lanka government for the transfer.