On 28 October 2021, the government commissioned and dedicated OPV Sarthak to guard the Indian coasts at Goa. A few months back, in August 2021, the government commissioned the OPV indigenous vessel Vigraha at the Chennai coast. This article will read updates related to the OPV ships and their role in the Indian Coast Guard.
Before proceeding to the main content, let us understand important terms. The ship has been dedicated as ICGS by the Indian Coast Guard. Let us learn the meaning of the Indian Coast Guard first.
ICG expands for the Indian Coastal Guard. The concept of ICG comes into existence. After the 1971 war. In 1971 a 13 days long war was fought between India and Pakistan. The war was fought to protect the liberty and dignity of Bengalis, Hindus and Muslims. India won the war on 16 December 20 1971. Also, Bangladesh was born on the same day, and every year celebrates this day as Vijay Diwas. After this war, the Rustamji Committee framed a blueprint for a multidimensional coastal guard.
The blueprint was accepted, and then the Indian Coast Guard was established in August 1978 by the Coast Guard Act. It is an independent Armed force of India. It also acts as a search and rescue and maritime law enforcement agency under the Ministry of Defence. The India Coastal Guard has its headquarters in New Delhi.
ICG is responsible for marine. The agency has its headquarters in New Delhi. The role of ICG is environmental protection in the maritime zone. ICG exercises its jurisdiction over the contiguous zone and Exclusive Economic Zone of Indian waters.
OPV expands for Offshore Patrol Vessels. An offshore patrol vessel is a technical ship. Such versatile ships are designed to perform Economic Exclusion zone management roles. In India, there are ten major Patrol vessels. Also, India is currently working on five series of indigenous OPV programs. The Indian family of offshore patrol vessels comprises 80m and 90m versatile and affordable ships.
An OPV has the following features:
- OPV consists of long-range surface ships.
- These ships are capable of operation in maritime zones of India.
- These ships can handle helicopter operations too.
- These ships are embedded with modern weapons and technologies.
- The ships are large and seaworthy enough to patrol offshore in the open ocean.
OPV Sarthak is of its kind indigenous OPV of ICG. Here is the list of features that makes OPV Sarthak different and unique:
- OPV Sasthak was launched in August 2020.
- It is the 4th in the series of 5 indigenous OPVs.
- OPV Sarthak has been built and designed by M/S Groa Shipyard Limited.
- The manufacturing of the ship was done in line with the government’s vision of “Make in India”.
- The ship has about 70% indigenous content.
- The OPV is fitted with advanced navigation, communication sensors and equipment.
- The project is a giant leap towards achieving ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’.
- The ship can carry a twin-engine helicopter, four high-speed boats and one inflatable boat for swift boarding and search.
- The ship has the capability of carrying limited pollution response equipment to undertake oil spill pollution.
- The ship is 105-meter long and weighs about 2,450 tons.
- Two 9,100 kW diesel engines propel the ship.
- Each engine is designed to attain a maximum speed of 26 knots.
OPV Sarthak has the following benefits in protecting the country’s coastal boundary and supporting its economy.
- OPV Sarthak will significantly boost the maritime security and safety of the nation.
- It will assist Indian Coastal Guards in coastal and offshore patrolling.
- It will help in maintaining the policies of maritime zones of India.
- It will control smuggling and piracy activities in Indian waters.
- The ship will also deal with limited wartime roles.
- It will enjoy exclusive jurisdiction in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the country’s ocean.
- The entire project will safeguard the maritime interests of the nation.
Despite OPV Sarthak, India has other OPVs too. The major ones from the list are mentioned below:
OPV Sajag was commissioned into the Indian Coast Guard in May 2021. It is the third out of five indigenous OPV series.
OPV Vigraha was commissioned into the Indian Coast Guard in August 2021. It was built by the Larsen & Toubro company.
OPV 45006 VAJRA was the sixth Offshore Patrol Vessel. It was launched in Feb 2020.
OPV Varaha was commissioned in the Indian Coast Guard in September 2019 at the Chennai post.
A Way Forward
The safety and security of the coastal boundary of the country are essential. ICG and ICGS together help in maintaining a healthy environment in Indian waters.