INS Sandhayak, a first of its class indigenously designed and built Hydrographic Survey Ship of Indian Navy, will be decommissioned on 4 June 2021 in Vizag. This gem of the Indian Navy has been serving the nation for the last 40 years. The decommissioning ceremony of INS Sandhayak will be held at Naval Dockyard Visakhapatnam and will be a low-key event attended only by in-station officers and sailors, with strict observance of COVID protocols.
INS Sandhayak was conceptualized by the then Chief Hydrographer to the Govt. of India, Rear Adm FL Fraser, AVSM, Padma Shri who had a strong desire for indigenously designed and built hydrographic survey vessels in India. The design was entirely finalised by Naval Headquarters. The construction of the ship began at GRSE Kolkata (then Calcutta) by laying the keel in 1978. The ship was commissioned to the Indian Navy on 26 February 1981 by Vice Admiral MK Roy, AVSM, the then Flag Officer Commander-in-Chief of Eastern Naval Command (ENC). Since its commissioning, she has been the Alma-Mater, nurturing the hydrographers of the Indian Navy thereby laying the foundation of complete hydrographic coverage of the peninsular waters. Also, the success of her design paved the way for all the Surveyor ships of the Indian Navy in various modifications till recently.
The ship, during her commissioned service, has undertaken approximately 200 major Hydrographic surveys, and several other minor surveys on both East and West coasts of the country, the Andaman seas, and the neighbouring countries too. Apart from the Survey Missions, the ship has been an active participant in many significant operations such as Operation Pawan – assisting the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka in 1987, Operation Sarong, Operation Rainbow – rendering humanitarian assistance post the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 and participation in maiden joint INDO-US HADR Exercise ‘Tiger-Triumph’.
In its glorious 40 years, the ship saw 22 Commanding Officers at the helm, with the last Commanding Officer taking charge of the ship on 17 June 2019. With the sunset on Friday, the Naval Ensign and the Commissioning Pennant will be hauled down for the last time onboard INS Sandhayak, in the presence of Vice Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh, AVSM, VSM Flag Officer Commander-in-Chief of ENC, symbolizing the decommissioning of this historic ship that has gallantly served this country.