The National Coast Guard of Mauritius has commissioned its new Indian-built offshore patrol vessel (OPV) CGS Barracuda into service during a visit by Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.
The vessel was commissioned on 12 March, Independence Day, at the Port Louis Harbour during a ceremony also attended by the Mauritian Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth, who said that the Barracuda is an example of the strong cultural, economic and maritime ties between India and Mauritius.
He added that the Barracuda will enhance maritime safety and security, and combat illegal fishing, drug trafficking, maritime crime and pollution and save lives and property at sea.
Modi, on a 24 hour state visit, said that cooperation was important in advancing peace and security in the region and promoting a safe, secure and stable Indian Ocean Region. He pointed out that in 2008, India promoted the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium and today it brings together 35 navies of the region. “We also support efforts to strengthen our regional mechanisms for maritime cooperation – from dealing with piracy terrorism and other crimes, to marine safety and natural disasters”. India has also started maritime security cooperation with Maldives and Sri Lanka and Modi hoped that Mauritius, the Seychelles and other nations in the region would also join this initiative.
CGS Barracuda was handed over to Mauritius on 20 December 2014 and began sailing home on February 8 under an Indian Navy commander. It was built by Kolkata-based shipyard Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE).
The Barracuda is a 74.1 metre long vessel with a top speed of 22 knots and a displacement of 1 350 tonnes. The ship can also operate a single helicopter and carry a small detachment of troops. Additional capabilities include supporting troop landings in remote island territories. Armament includes a 30 mm rapid fire gun and 12.7 mm heavy machineguns.
GRSE received the $58.5 million contract for the CGS Barracuda in March 2011. Her keel was laid in April 2013, with launch taking place that August. Successful sea trials were concluded in November 2014, when the vessel demonstrated a top speed of 22.5 knots (42 km/h) against the requirement of 20 knots (37 km/h).
The CGS Barracuda is based on the Kora class corvettes built for the Indian Navy by state-owned GRSE. Range is approximately 5 000 nautical miles at maximum speed. She is powered by two MTU 16V 4000 M53 diesel engines rated at 1 840 kW, each driving two controllable pitch propellers through ZF Marine gearboxes.
India and Mauritius have enjoyed good political, economic and military relations. Indian navy vessels often patrol Mauritian waters and India has provided military hardware to the country, such as an HAL Dhruv light utility helicopter and two Do 228 maritime surveillance aircraft.