Coast Guard Conducts Two-day International Search and Rescue Workshop in Goa

Indian Navy

New Delhi: Indian Coast Guard conducted a two-day National Maritime Search and Rescue Workshop and Exercise-2020 (SAREX-20) from March 5 in Goa which saw participation by 24 overseas partners from 19 countries.

The workshop was inaugurated by Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar, and for the first time the three pillars of national SAR mechanism i.e. Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Civil Aviation and Ministry of Defence, took part in the exercise which had the theme of Harmonisation of Maritime and Aeronautical Search and Rescue code named ‘HAMSAR’. SAREX-20 saw the largest ever participation from international delegates including 38 national observers and representatives of seven commercial airlines including two helicopter operators.

SAREX-20 included conduct of workshop and table top exercise on March 5 followed by a sea exercise on March 6. SAREX exercise is conducted biennially by Indian Coast Guard under the aegis of National Maritime Search and Rescue Board (NMSARB) since 2003 under the Chairmanship of Director General K Natarajan, Indian Coast Guard and this was the 9th edition of the series of SAREX.

The SAR Workshop and exercise focused on Mass Rescue operation (MRO) scenario consequent to simulated ditching of a passenger aircraft at sea off Goa. During the simulated exercise mass rescue operations were demonstrated with participation of seven ships, ten aircraft of various resource agencies including Indian Coast Guard, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force and vessels from Goa port. Airport Authority of Indian, State Administration, Indian Mission Control Centre, Indian Space Research Organisation and various other stake holders along with local administration, designated Hospitals, Port Authorities for disaster management response on a large scale.

SAREX-2020 tested the efficiency of operations and coordination of the stakeholders involved in Search and Rescue in Indian Search and Rescue Region. The proactive approach adopted on SAR particularly for ensuring safety of fishermen and mariners at sea has yielded positive results and contributed towards growing confidence among the fishing community and the mariners. Indian Coast Guard since inception have saved 9701 lives at sea translating to approximately more than one life being saved every second day.