Chennai, Apr 11 (PTI) The Indian Coast Guard today commissioned its state-of-the-art offshore patrol vehicle (OPV) – ‘Vikram’, the first in a series of seven 98-metre OPVs.

‘Vikram’ was commissioned here by Union Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre. Coast Guard Director General Rajendra Singh and other senior officials were among those present.

A defence press release said ‘Vikram’ would be based in New Mangaluru under the operational and administrative control of the Commander, Coast Guard Region (West).

It would be deployed extensively for exclusive economic zone (EEZ) surveillance and other duties, the release said.

‘Vikram’ would ‘enhance’ Coast Guard’s operational capability to discharge multifarious maritime tasks, it said.

“The induction of sophisticated and state-of-the-art Offshore Patrol Vessel will give a fillip to the maritime protection of our vast coastline of Western Seaboard in general and the maritime states of Karnataka and Maharashtra in particular,” it added.

Designed and built indigenously by Larsen and Toubro Ltd, the OPV is fitted with modern navigation and communication equipment, sensors and machines.

Its features include a 30-mm gun and a 12.7-mm gun, Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), Automated Power Management System (APMS) and high-power external firefighting system.

The ship can carry a twin-engine helicopter and four high-speed boats including two rigid hull inflatable boats for swift boarding operation, search and rescue, law enforcement and maritime patrol, it said.

It can also carry pollution response equipment to contain oil spill at sea.

‘Vikram’ can attain a maximum speed of 26 knots and has an endurance of 5,000 nautical miles (NM) at an “economical speed,” it added.

Its sustenance and reach and modern equipment and system provide it the capability to perform the role of a “command platform,” it added.

Presently, the Coast Guard has a fleet of 134 ships and boats and 62 aircraft, even as 63 ships were at various stages of construction in different shipyards in the country, the release said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.