INDIAN Naval Ships Nirbhik and Nirghat were decommissioned at Naval Dockyard, Mumbai yesterday evening after a glorious 30 and 28 years respectively in service of the nation. The solemn ceremony involved traditional lowering of the ensign and commissioning pendants with playing of ‘Last Post’. The Chief Guest for the ceremony was Rear Admiral R B Pandit, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet, who had commanded Nirghat earlier. Cdr V R Naphade, (Retd) and Commodore S Mampully, (Retd), the commissioning Commanding Officers of Nirbhik and Nirghat respectively were the Guests of Honour. These ships of Killer squadron are inheritors of a proud legacy as their original avatars were flag bearers of the naval offensive action on Karachi Harbour during Indo-Pak war in 1971.
With such a glorious legacy to their names, Nirbhik and Nirghat in their new avatars were commissioned at Poti, erstwhile USSR on 21 Dec 1987 and 15 Dec 1989 respectively. These ships are manned by a crew of 70 sailors and seven officers. Their four gas turbine engines make them fast and achieve speeds close to 40 Knots. The weapon package of four Surface to Surface missile, medium range AK 176 gun and close range AK 630 in addition to small calibre guns packs a lethal punch.
During their yeoman service over almost three decades, these ships have participated in numerous operations including Op Parakram and Vijay. Nirbhik and Nirghat were forward deployed off Gujarat on numerous occasions for patrolling . Cdr Anand Mukundan and Cdr Mohammed Ikram were last Commanding Officers to helm INS Nirbhik and INS Nirghat respectively.
Old ships never die, their souls live on! In keeping with this tradition of the Navy, it is envisaged that Nirbhik and Nirghat will be reincarnated in the future.