‘Maritime exercises are being jointly conducted with these nations regularly’
Indian Coast Guard Commander for Karnataka Deputy Inspector-General S.B. Venkatesh said here on Tuesday that the Coast Guard has entered into memoranda of understanding with seven Asian countries for cooperation in maritime search and rescue operations. Maritime exercises and training activities are being jointly conducted with these countries regularly.
In his opening remarks at a regional level workshop on maritime search and rescue operations organised by the Indian Coast Guard, he said that in addition, search and rescue communication check exercises are being conducted with the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre of Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Vietnam to establish primary means of communication and overcome the language barrier.
The Coast Guard also conducts the national beacon exercise wherein the efficacy of the satellite-based search and rescue systems is examined and pre-emptive actions are initiated to ensure optimal efficiency of the satellite beacons and the transmission, reception and relay system. He said that the country has a robust maritime search and rescue system which is flourishing on equitable contributions of all the stakeholders. Though 100 % response to search and rescue incidents has been achieved, there is a lot to be done to ensure saving all lives in each maritime distress incident.
Mr. Venkatesh said that given the global shipping industry is responsible for transporting as much as 90 % of world trade, the safety of vessels is critical.
He said that the sea trade of the State constituted a significant part of its economic activities and secured for it a niche in the oceanic trade of the western coast of India from the earliest times. Literary and archaeological evidence indicate that the State’s sea trade extended up to Malaysia, Sumatra, Java and Cambodia in the south-east and the Arab countries, Persia and Egypt in the west.
The entire search and rescue set-up in the Indian search and rescue region is controlled and co-ordinated by the Indian Coast Guard through maritime rescue co-ordinating centres in Mumbai, Chennai and Port Blair, he said.
He said that the Coast Guard Karnataka has saved 27 lives in sea so far this year. Of these, 24 were rescued on September 11 near Malpe in Udupi, one was evacuated for medical help in Mangaluru on July 31 and two lives were saved during this September’s floods in Udupi.