India has welcomed a new sail training ship into its fleet, while saying good bye to another training warship that put in 16 years of service and trained over 1,300 Indian Navy officers into fine leaders.
INS Sudharshini, a three-masted barque, was commissioned into the Indian Navy service as the second sail training ship at Kochi in Kerala by Southern Naval Commander Vice Admiral KN Sushil.
INS Krishna, the erstwhile British naval warship HMS Andromeda, cast off from Kochi naval base for one last time to Mumbai, where it will be decommissioned from service later this year.
INS Sudarshini, a follow-on class of INS Tarangini that was inducted in the Southern Naval Command in 1997, is commanded by Commander PK Boyiri Varma. It has been built by the defence public sector Goa Shipyard Limited and is designed by British naval architect Colin Mudie.
With an overall length of 54 metres, INS Sudarshini has 20 sails, 7.5 km of rope and 1.5 km of steel wire rope. It can sail for 20 days with a crew of five officers, 31 sailors, with 30 cadets embarked for training.
Sail training ships are the crucibles for future naval officers for training in seamanship, navigation, ship handling and braving nature. Training of naval cadets will get a boost now with the induction of the second sail training ship, as either INS Tarangini or INS Sudarshini will be available for training purposes at any given time.
The new ship is scheduled to go on history ASEAN countries in September this year to cement India's historic ties with the countries of South East Asian region. It will be on call at 18 ports in the region and will return after a six-month voyage in April 2013.
INS Krishna, a warship that was part of the Indian First Training Squadron since 1995, was flagged off on its last journey to Mumbai by Southern Naval Command chief of staff Rear Admiral Sudarshan Shrikhande.
In admiration of the ship's legacy and its value to the navy, Shrikhande said at the event: "INS Krishna will go to her decommissioning with great pride, and she is going on her own steam. She has trained generations of cadets to make them fine leaders."
Originally commissioned as HMS Andromeda in December 1968, it was decommissioned by the British Royal Navy in November 1994. During his British service, the ship saw action several times, including during the Falklands War in 1982.
It was later bought by India and commissioned into the Indian Navy in August 1995 as INS Krishna, a training ship for cadets.
The ship has sailed 3,23,750 nautical miles during her service life as training ship with the Indian Navy and has visited 32 ports in 23 different countries during the period.
It has a crew of 221 sailors and 18 officers, and the capacity to train 80 cadets at a time.