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INS Viraat, which according to the Indian Navy is the world’s oldest aircraft carrier, is to convert it into India’s first-ever maritime museum-cum-marine adventure center. The plan to convert the retired ship to a museum got a final go-ahead by the Maharashtra state cabinet earlier this month.
The Maharashtra government’s Rs 852-crore plan for Viraat will see the ship’s conversion on public private-partnership (PPP) basis. Bought in 1986 and decommissioned in 2017, the Viraat complex would include other facilities such as adventures, sailing, scuba-diving, and marine training for merchant sailors. The main museum is to be located in Sindhudurg. Grounded seven nautical miles off the Malvan coast at Nivati rocks in Sindhudurg, INS Viraat is one of the seven aircraft carriers to have been converted into museums, theme parks and luxury hotels.
After the approval from the cabinet ministers, the defense ministry will now be reached out regarding the same. The museum will feature facilities related to the marine world, audio-visual programmes, a virtual hall showcasing marine history among many other attractions. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra added that the further enhancements will be discussed with the private investors.
INS Vikrant had earlier served as museum ship in South Mumbai till 2012 before it was sold as scrap in 2014 after the efforts to preserve the ship had failed.
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