Offshore Patrol Vessel CG 60 commissioned as Sri Lanka Coast Guard Ship Suraksha

The State Minister of Defence, Hon. Ruwan Wijewardene commissioned the Offshore Patrol Vessel CG 60, which the Indian Coast Guard had provided to the Sri Lanka Coast Guard, as Sri Lanka Coast Guard Ship Suraksha at a ceremony held at Colombo Harbour today (21 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, the Chief of Staff of the Navy, Rear Admiral Sirimevan Ranasinghe, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Navy, Rear Admiral Neil Rosyro, the Director General Operation, Rear Admiral Piyal De Silva and the Director General of the Sri Lanka Coast Guard, Rear Admiral Samantha Wimalathunge graced the commissioning ceremony held in accordance with naval traditions.

The Chief Guest, the State Minister of Defence was accorded a Guard of Honour on arrival. He handed over the commissioning warrant to the Commanding Officer of SLCGS Suraksha, Captain Neville Ubayasiri, who read it out pledging the assumption of its command. 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 invited on board the newly commissioned coast guard ship and the Commander of the Navy briefed them on the ship’s layout, equipment and operational capabilities,

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.

SLCGS Suraksha had earlier belonged to the Indian Coast Guard and it was officially handed over to the Sri Lanka Navy at a ceremony held at the Port of Kochi in India on 05 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 nautical miles per hour.

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 kilometres in the near future. Under the able guidance of the present Commander, Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah, Sri Lanka Navy is committed to the protection of this vast sea area belonging to the island nation. Accordingly, SLCGS Suraksha, the latest addition to the Sri Lanka Coast Guard fleet, is also expected to play a crucial role in strengthening the country’s naval capabilities.