SC stays further dismantling of decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Viraat
The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed further dismantling of the decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Viraat. The court's order comes after it was approached by Envitech Marine Consultants Pvt. Ltd., which has been seeking to procure the aircraft carrier to convert it into a maritime museum. Back in December, the Ministry of Defence had rejected the company's proposal to convert INS Viraat into a museum.
Supreme Court issues notice to INS Viraat's current owner
A three-judge SC bench—comprising Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian—ordered status quo on the dismantling of INS Viraat. The court also issued a notice to Shree Ram Group of Industries, a shipbreaker based in Gujarat's Alang that had bought the aircraft carrier from the Indian Navy to dismantle it for scrap.
INS Viraat was decommissioned in 2017
INS Viraat originally belonged to the British Navy as HMS Hermes. Its construction had begun before World War II ended. The warship was commissioned into the Indian Navy in 1987 and was decommissioned in 2017. On September 20, 2020, INS Viraat left the Mumbai port for its last journey to Alang, Gujarat. Shree Ram Shipbreakers procured it through an e-auction for Rs. 38 crore.
Envitech Marine Consultants failed to procure INS Viraat
Envitech Marine Consultants Pvt. Ltd., a private company, has shown interest in procuring the aircraft carrier to convert it into a maritime museum. However, the company had failed to reach a formal agreement with Shree Ram Shipbreakers. The company had also failed to secure a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Ministry of Defence, thus stalling its plans to rescue INS Viraat.
Large portion of INS Viraat already dismantled
A large portion of INS Viraat has been dismantled as the apex court's stay order came on Wednesday. Visuals showed that the flight deck has already been sliced clean, exposing the internal structure of the decommissioned aircraft carrier.