Express News Service
CHENNAI: India’s first indigenously developed and built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, which was dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Kochi on Friday, is likely to be berthed at Kattupalli Port near Chennai for nearly eight years due to a lack of adequate infrastructure in Visakhapatnam.
The 262-metre-long and 62-metre-wide warship will eventually be based at the Eastern Naval Command headquarters in Visakhapatnam.
According to sources, Indian Navy has been holding discussions with L&T Shipyard in Kattupalli to berth the ship for the past few years. In 2020, a defence committee was informed by the Indian Navy about the port being shortlisted for berthing the aircraft carrier temporarily.
Kattupalli Port has the depth and its jetty has the length to berth the giant carrier. The interim arrangement will continue till a new base, currently being developed to host the carrier in Visakhapatnam, is ready for use. Additional infrastructure is being created near Kattupalli Port for Indian Navy to cater to the warship.
Talks are on over cost of leasing and infrastructure facilities at the port, sources said.Equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, the warship, tipped as ‘city on the move’, is as big as two football fields and is 18-floor tall.It will be the country’s second aircraft carrier after INS Vikramaditya, which is based in the western front.The modified Kiev-class aircraft carrier purchased by India from Russia in 2013 was renamed in honour of legendary emperor Vikramaditya.
Kattupalli created history by becoming the first shipyard in India to carry out repairs for United States’ Navy Ship (USNS). Recently, United States Sealift Command’s Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship USNS Charles Drew, which conducts ‘replenishments-at-sea’ by delivering critical supplies (food, fuel, spare parts and mail) to US Navy ships, docked at the port. The US Navy had awarded a contract to L&T’s shipyard at Kattupalli to undertake maintenance of the ship after surveying various yards.