Hovercraft H-193, an air-cushioned vehicle, was commissioned in Haldia Thursday for use of the Coast Guard in maintaining close surveillance off the West Bengal coast, and assisting fishermen in distress.
The vehicle was commissioned by Coast Guard's regional commander (North East) and Inspector General K.C. Pande in a simple ceremony in the presence of senior officers.
The induction of Hovercraft H-193 would add teeth to the Coast Guard operations in West Bengal, a defence ministry press release said.
The 21 metre long Hovercraft, designed and built by M/s Griffon Hoverworks Limited (GHL) of Britain, has a displacement of 31 tonnes and is capable of achieving speeds in excess of 45 knots an hour.
The craft is ideally suited for undertaking shallow water operations and would further enhance the operational capabilities of the Indian Coast Guard.
"The craft will be deployed for close coast surveillance of the West Bengal coast, search and rescue and rendering assistance to fishermen in distress," said the release.
Hovercraft H-193, commanded by Commandant Sailesh Gupta, has a crew of two officers and 12 enrolled personnel. It would be based in Haldia under the administrative and operational control of the commander, Coast Guard Region (North East).