The fourteenth National Maritime Search and Rescue (NMSAR) Board meeting was held at Gandhinagar today,17 July 2015, under the chairmanship of Vice Admiral HCS Bisht, AVSM, Director General Indian Coast Guard. The meeting was attended by Board Members from Coastal States/UTs and other agencies involved with Search and Rescue (SAR) operations in the region.
The Indian Coast Guard(ICG)ismandated to undertake duties of National Maritime Search and Rescue for assisting mariners in distress within the Indian Search and Rescue Region(SRR). Coordination for Maritime SAR Operations is done from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centers(MRCCs)of the Indian Coast Guard, located at Mumbai, Chennai and Port Blair. In the last few years, the Govt. of Indiahas accorded enhanced impetus towards strengthening bilateral, regional and international cooperation in the domain of Maritime SAR,as envisaged under International Search and Rescue Convention,1979. The ICG has accordingly evolved cooperative mechanisms and signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) with a number of maritime states in the Indian Ocean Region. It alsoconducts regular exercises with the maritime agencies of these states.
The Annual Board Meeting aims to evolve long term plans, discuss inter-agency co-ordination issues and workout modalities towards a strengthened framework for Maritime SAR in the Indian SRR. In the meeting held at Hotel NarayaniHeights, Gandhinagar today, the chairman re-iterated the requirement to augment SAR capabilities so as to cater forgrowingmaritime activity in the Indian SRR. A few important subjects discussed included mechanism for testing of Distress Beacons, synergy between aeronautical and maritime SAR and enhanced participation of merchant men in the SAR process.
It was for the first time that the meeting was conducted under the aegis of the Coast Guard Regional Headquarters (North West). During the meeting, the Chairman NMSAR Board Vice Admiral HCS Bisht also presented awards to ships/units/ boats for their contribution towards Search and Rescue at sea. The ICG award for best merchant vessel was awarded to MV ‘Maersk Privilege’, while the ICG award for fishermen was awarded to Fishing boat ‘L Aster’ from Kanyakumari. In the category of Government owned SAR unit, the M/s Essar SAR award was jointly presented to ICG Hovercraft H-194 and NIOT Offshore Research Vessel ‘SagarManjusha’.