India – State gets ‘retired’ Navy submarine

INS Vagli, the oldest operational submarine of the Indian Navy, was handed over to the State government on Wednesday to be converted into a maritime museum that will be established at Mamallapuram.

Vagli, decommissioned in Visakhapatnam on December 2010, arrived here on March 25. It was handed over to State Finance Minister O Paneerselvam and Tourism Minister P Chendur Pandian by Vice-Admiral Anil K Chopra, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command.

The submarine is likely to be stationed in harbour till September before being transferred for installation on about 30 acres of land abutting the beach near the Shore Temple, a UNESCO world heritage site. Chopra said that the submarine was towed to Chennai port free of cost. Paneerselvam thanked the vice admiral and sought his help in installing the submarine on at the selected site.

The ship, which will be converted into a museum,  will have food courts, audio-visual studio, souvenir shops and an aquarium. It will be planned and executed in a phased manner using the ‘build-own-operate-transfer’ model.

The Vagli, a Type 641B Foxtrot-class submarine, was commissioned by then Lieutenant Commander Lalit Talwar on August 10, 1974 at Riga, Latvia, in the erstwhile Soviet Union. It had completed 36 years of dedicated service under 23 commanding officers.

INS Vagli, the oldest operational submarine of the Indian Navy undertook her last dive. The submarine is scheduled to be decommissioned in December after 36 glorious years of service. Vice Admiral Anup Singh, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command along with other senior officers sailed on the submarine to mark the historic occasion. In his message on the occasion, the Flag Officer commended the crew for their professionalism and enthusiasm and said that the submarine had sailed into history with pride and honour.
The submarine, presently commanded by Cdr AA Kapre, is the last of the Foxtrot class of submarines which were built in the erstwhile USSR. She was commissioned  on August 10, 1974 at Riga and since then has operated extensively on both the coasts. The submarine has participated in large number of exercises with ships and aircraft including recently concluded bilateral exercise with the Singapore Navy.
-Cdr TLP Babu from Visakhapatnam
Source – Vagli Last Dive
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