INS Viraat decommissioned in presence of retired British Royal Navy personnel

Royal Navy servicemen recall the Falklands War in 1982 fought by INS Viraat then HMS Hermes.

India finally let goes its Centaur-class carrier, INS Viraat, which has spent 30 years in the Indian Navy and 27 years in the Royal Navy.

Viraat was decommissioned at Mumbai's Naval Dockyard exactly at sunset in a ceremonial farewell during which the Naval Ensign was brought down.

The event was attended by India's Chief of Naval Staff, Sunil Lamba and the British Royal Navy's First Sea Lord, admiral Sir Phillip Andrew Jones.

Naval officers during the decommissioning ceremony of INS Viraat at naval dockyard in Mumbai on Monday. Photo: PTIRetired personnel from British Royal Navy, who had served on Viraat then Hermes, were also present at the event. Andy Trish, who served as Navy Airman on Hermes during the 1982 Falklands War, recalled his time on the aircraft carrier. Trish said he was just 19 when he came to serve this ship and he celebrated his birthday on this very ship.

"This ship is still very beautiful. We were at war for days on end. This aircraft carrier played a pivotal role in the war. Aircraft were flown from this deck. I got to sleep on the very same bed as I used to sleep while serving this ship," said Trish.

While addressing the press, Chief of Naval Staff, Sunil Lamba said, "There is no decision yet on Andhra government's proposal to turn it into a hotel and Maritime museum. We had sent a proposal to all the states but received only from Andhra government."

How the decommissioning took place

At sunset on March 6, 2017 the Naval Ensign and Commissioning Pennant was lowered for the last time on board INS Viraat, symbolic of the end of Viraat era in the history of Indian Navy.