The Indian Coast Guard held a Regional Search and Rescue exercise in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, on March 28-29, 2023. The exercise aimed to simulate a real-time maritime distress scenario and highlight how a Search and Rescue (SAR) organization functions during a mass rescue operation. The exercise involved all stakeholders in efficiently using available resources for the M-SAR (Maritime Search and Rescue) contingency.
The exercise simulated an Offshore Support Vessel (OSV) carrying hundreds of passengers reporting a distress call of a major fire onboard off the coast of Kakinada. Maritime Rescue sub-center (MRSC) Kakinada coordinated with all resource agencies to save lives in distress. The state disaster contingency plan was activated to support the operations at sea.
During the exercise, external fire fighting of the distressed vessel, abandon ship drill, deployment of Rescue boat, Jason Cradle, Scramble net, Life raft, life buoy, surveillance by drone, casualty rescue by helicopter, and medical management were all carried out. Ashore preparations included establishing an Incident Command Post, Triage for casualty treatment, and the necessary facilities for managing critical casualties.
The sea area off Kakinada was chosen as the location for the exercise due to the large-scale exploration and production activities in the Krishna Godavari basin, which makes the area vulnerable to emergencies requiring large-scale SAR response. The two-day workshop and exercise increased knowledge and understanding while encouraging cooperation and coordination among member agencies for a Mass Rescue Operation (MRO) in which a single agency’s efforts may not be sufficient.
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