INS Viraat, the world’s oldest aircraft carrier, was accorded a grand send-off from the port city here today, after over five decades of its service to the Navy.
The ship, which underwent a decommissioning refit, is being towed back by three tugs to Mumbai for the decommissioning ceremony, a Navy official said.
The final journey of the carrier began with Navy officials led by the Chief of Staff, Southern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Nadkarni bidding farewell to the carrier at Ernakulam Wharf of Cochin Port Trust October 23 morning.
Viraat is expected to be decommissioned by end of this year, after 55 years of service, including 27 years with the Royal Navy (British Navy).
The Navy has agreed to hand over INS Viraat to Andhra Pradesh government after its decommissioning.
Unknown facts about INS Viraat
INS Viraat is known to be the world’s oldest aircraft carrier.
From the deck of INS Viraat various aircrafts have flown more than 2,034 hours.
INS Viraat have made a benchmark by spending nearly 2,250 days at sea and covered a distance of around 10,94,215 KM by travelling over 5,88,288 NM. This means INS Viraat have spent nearly over six years at sea.
INS Viraat had played a vital role in the operation Jupiter in 1989(Indian Peace Keeping operations in Sri Lanka) and Operation Vijay in the year 1999 (Kargil War).
Viraat’s last operational deployment was participation in International Fleet Review (IFR-2016) at Visakhapatnam.
The ship also holds the Guinness world record for being the oldest serving warship.
INS Viraat was also known as ‘Old Lady’ among the Naval Community.