Indian warship launched in Italy

New Delhi, Oct 12 (IANS) A new warship built for the Indian Navy has been launched at an Italian shipyard in a ceremony that included the recitation of Vedic hymns and the breaking of a coconut.

Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri launched the INS Shakti tanker at the Sestri Ponente yard in Genoa Monday, an Indian Navy officer said.

This is the second of the two tankers built at the Italian shipyard.

INS Deepak was the first to be designed and built in Italy and is in an advanced stage of trials before being delivered to the Indian Navy by year-end.

Fincantieri had signed a 300 million euro contract in April 2008 to build the two vessels.

INS Shakti was launched by Homai Saha, the wife of India’s Ambassador to Italy Debabrata Saha, with the ‘recitation of Vedic hymns and the breaking of a coconut’, the official said.

The christening ceremony also included smashing a bottle of champagne against the ship’s bow.

Vice Admiral N.N. Kumar, controller (Warship Production and Acquisition), and other senior officers of the Indian Navy and the defence ministry, as also senior Italian Navy officers were present at the launching ceremony.

INS Shakti is expected to be commissioned within two years. Trials will start in December.

Both the INS Shakti and the INS Deepak have been built with double hulls to provide greater safety and prevent oil spillage.

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