The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the dismantling of decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Viraat, Bar and Bench reported. INS Viraat served the Indian Navy for nearly three decades.

The bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde was hearing a petition filed by Mumbai-based company Envitech Marine Consultants seeking to convert the ship into a museum and an adventure centre, parked off the coast of Goa. The project was to be undertaken in collaboration with the Goa government.

The ship was decommissioned by the Indian Navy in March 2017. In July 2020, the Ministry of Defence sold it for Rs 38.54 crore to Shree Ram Group, a shipbreaking company based in Alang in Gujarat.

The Supreme Court also agreed to examine the price at which Envitech Marine Consultants could buy the ship from the Shree Ram Group, Hindustan Times reported. It issued a notice to the shipbreaking company.

INS Viraat was the world’s oldest serving aircraft carrier. It had served the Royal Navy during the British era for 27 years as HMS Hermes before being sold to India for $465 million. The vessel had undertaken its last journey in October 2016 from Kochi to Mumbai.

The carrier has had 2,250 sailing days and circumnavigated the globe nearly 27 times. Its name means “giant” in Sanskrit. When fully operational, Viraat had 1,500 staff members on board.

The vessel was used during Operation Jupiter in 1989 in Sri Lanka and participated in the blockade during Operation Vijay in 1999. INS Viraat had also participated in international joint exercises, including Malabar with the US Navy, Varuna with the French Navy and Naseem-Al-Bahar with the Omani Navy.