BY DARSHANA JAMINDAR
Ahmedabad : Friday, 18 November 2022
In the series of Annual Maritime Search and Rescue (M-SAR) Meetings, Indian Coast Guard (ICG) conducted the 20th National Maritime Search and Rescue (NMSAR) Board meeting at Kevadia, Gujarat on Friday, 18 November 2022. The apex level meeting was chaired by Director General VS Pathania, PTM, TM, Director General Indian Coast Guard and the Chairman National Maritime Search and Rescue Board. The NMSAR Board comprising 31 members from various central ministries/agencies, members of armed forces, all Coastal States & Union Territories meets annually to discuss policy issues, formulate guidelines & procedures, assess the efficacy of National Maritime Search and Rescue Plan and services for mariners and fishermen in the vast 4.6 million Sq km of Indian Search and Rescue Region (ISRR).
The Chairman in his inaugural address, highlighted various initiatives undertaken by Indian Coast Guard in coordination with other stakeholders/resource agencies for strengthening the M-SAR services under the aegis of the Board. During the meeting, Director General VS Pathania, PTM, TM, Chairman National Maritime Search and Rescue Board launched the National Maritime Search and Rescue Plan-2022. The SAR plan serves as a policy document for all the participating agencies & stakeholders for directing an integrated and coordinated approach towards functioning of the M-SAR system and is aimed towards capacity and capability building of SAR services in India.
During the meeting, Search and Rescue Aid Tool-Integrated (SARAT-I) version 1.0 developed jointly by Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) and Airports Authority of India (AAI) was also launched. The software has been designed to integrate depiction of most probable area during an aeronautical contingency over sea factoring the line datum probability algorithm. The software is aimed to aid search of missing aircraft after losing contact with Air Traffic Control (ATC)/ Shore based RADAR (Launch of the software is subject to final evaluation) and processed to how ditched over sea.
Apart from deliberations on various maritime safety issues and identifying areas of improvement of SAR services through policy framework and awareness programmes, technical presentations were also delivered by the subject experts from ICG, ISRO, Maharashtra State Fisheries and Karnataka State Fisheries followed by brain storming sessions and discussions on Agenda Points from the stakeholders.
The NMSAR Board recognises the SAR efforts of merchant mariners, Govt. Owned Vessels, Ashore unit and Fishermen every year taking account of the gallant act of rendering assistance to distressed entity at sea at various capacities. During the award ceremony, SAR award for the year 2021-22 were conferred by the Chairman under four categories which include SAR awards for the Merchant Vessel, SAR award for the Fishermen, SAR award for Government Owned Unit and SAR award for Ashore Unit. The SAR Award for Merchant Vessel was jointly conferred to Indian flagged vessel MV Santiago and a Panama Flagged vessel MV Alliance. The SAR award for fishermen was given to Mr Ram Das, Master of West Bengal registered fishing Boat Krishna Narayan. Further, SAR award for Government owned unit was jointly awarded to ICG Ship Anmol and MFV Blufin of Union Territory of Lakshadweep administration whereas, the SAR Award for the Ashore Unit was received by Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) for prompt rescue coordination efforts on behalf of its sub-unit VTS Khambhat.
The Chairman in his closing remarks, appreciated the collaborative efforts by each stakeholders towards common objective of providing a safer maritime environment for seafarers in the Area of Responsibility (AoR).