The Sri Lanka Coast Guard’s first Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) CG 60 was commissioned in a glittering sun-set ceremony with State Minister of Defence, Hon. Ruwan Wijewardane as the Chief Guest. The ceremony took place at the Passenger Jetty at Port of Colombo on 21st October 2017.
Members of the Maha Sangha and religious dignitaries of other faiths, the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, Mr. Kapila Waidyaratne, the High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka, His Excellency Shri Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Ministry Secretaries, the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah, the Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Kapila Jayampathy along with several other distinguished invitees graced the commissioning ceremony held in accordance with the naval traditions.
The Chief Guest, the State Minister of Defence was accorded with a Guard of Honour on arrival and he handed over the commissioning warrant to the Commanding Officer of SLCGS Suraksha, Captain (ASW) Neville Ubayasiri. Thereafter, the commissioning pennant of the Sri Lanka Coast Guard’s largest ship was unveiled by the State Minister of Defence amidst blessings invoked by the religious dignitaries representing Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Islamic religions. All VIPs were subsequently were invited on board the newly commissioned coast guard ship and the Commanding officer SLCGS Suraksha briefed them on the ship’s layout, equipment and operational capabilities.
The vessels, formerly ICG Varuna of the Indian Coast Guard was officially handed over to the Sri Lanka Coast Guard at a ceremony held at the Port of Kochi in India on 05th September 2017. The OPV, with a displacement of 1,160 tons, is 74.10m in length and 11.4m in breadth. It can sail at a speed of 22 nautical miles per hour. Manned by a crew of 14 officers and 86 sailors, the vessel can cover 8,500 nautical miles maintaining a speed of 16 knots.
Sri Lanka is in possession of an Exclusive Economic Zone of 200 nautical miles and will own a sea area spanning 1,738,062.24 square kilometers in the near future. Under the able guidance of the present Director General of the Sri Lanka Coast Guard, Rear Admiral Samantha Wimalathunge, Sri Lanka Coast Guard is committed to the protection of this vast sea area belonging to the island nation. The newly commissioned ship, the first Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) to be inducted into its fleet, will be used by the Sri Lanka Coast Guard for patrolling and surveillance in Sri Lanka waters, humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations, prevention of maritime pollution as well as training purposes.