Kochi: After serving the Indian Navy for over three decades, Indian Naval Ship Kozhikode sailed into the sunset of its life on Saturday.
According to Indian Navy Eastern Naval Command (ENC) Spokesperson Capt C G Raju, INS Kozhikode was decommissioned during a grand ceremony at Naval Jetty in Visakhapatnam Saturday.
As the sun slowly set in the distant horizon, the ship gracefully ‘retired’ as operational ship after nearly 31 years of service in the Indian Navy.
It was a poignant moment for those witnessing the ensign of the warship being lowered for the last time, as the ceremonial guard on board, gave the vessel a final salute as a tribute to three decades of glorious service rendered by the ship.
Cmde Samir Advani (Retd) commissioning Commanding Officer of the ship was the guest of honour. Vice Adm S N Ghormade, Chief of Staff, ENC was the chief guest.
The decommissioning ceremony was attended by 16 erstwhile Commanding Officers, officers and sailors who have served on board the ship during this span of time.
Capt P Sasidharan (Retd), commissioning Executive Officer, Cdr Afzal Khan, commissioning Navigating Officer, Cdr VK Sharma (Retd) commissioning Engineering Officer and Mrs Madhavi Sani, wife of late Cdr Nadeem Sani commissioning Gunnery Officer of the ship, also graced the occasion.
Vice Adm Ghormade paid tribute to the crew of the ship and highlighted the contributions of the ship to the country’s maritime security and her participation in various operations ranging over three decades.
INS Kozhikode was commissioned on December 19, 1988 at Riga (erstwhile USSR) as the sixth and the last of the modified NATYA class of minesweeper.
Named after historic port of Calicut (Kozhikode) in Kerala, which was also the epitome in India’s maritime history, the ship was an integral part of the 21 Mine Counter Measures Squadron, based under ENC at Visakhapatnam.
INS Kozhikode was part of the mobile parade column during International Fleet Review held off Vizag in 2016.
INS Alleppy and INS Cannanore, other two minesweepers named after Kerala cities, were decommissioned in 2015 and 2018 respectively, after serving the Indian Navy for over three decades.
Navy has in its fleet INS Kochi, one of the deadliest Kolkata-class stealth guided-missile destroyers, commissioned in 2015.
Minesweepers are normally heavily armed ships which in addition to minesweeping missions can undertake anti-submarine warfare escorts as well.
Minesweepers are capable of countering any threats posed by various types of naval mines. During her service, INS Kozhikode was tasked to locate, classify, sweep and neutralise different types of drift mines so as to ensure safe waterways for shipping vessels, including crude oil cargo.
Naval mines are capable of damaging the surface of ships and submarines. Modern mines do not need the contact of the vessel to explode as they use their multiple sensors to detect the presence of ships.
“During the World War II, minesweepers inflicted massive damages to naval assets and their threat still continues to be a major worry for the sailors. With the advent of new technologies on board our ships, we are now able to mitigate the threats,” says an official.