Indian Navy’s Search and Rescue Operations – Update 3
‘OP Sahayam’ of Southern Naval Command persisted for the tenth day on 09 December 2017 over Southeast Arabian Sea and L& M islands. Ten ships and all aircraft have continued the search and rescue (SAR) operations with same zeal to bring succour to fishing community and sea farers. In the past 72 hours, search area was increased up to the coast of Maldives. However, no stranded boats, fishermen or floating bodies have been found in this duration.
INS Kalpeni returned to Kochi after completing 96 hours of assisted search by six local fishermen it embarked on 06 December 2017. The ship carried out an exhaustive search in areas extending up to 150 miles Northwest of L& M Islands to the coast of Calicut and therafter Kochi. The search effort did not find any distressed fishing vessels or floating bodies. It was observed that normal fishing activity has resumed in substantial strength especially between Kochi to Calicut.
INS Kabra, INS Sagardhwani and maritime reconnaissance aircraft P8I were deployed off the coast of Allepey and south of Thiruvananthapuram, based on inputs received from Kerala State administration of floating bodies in the area.
INS Sujata equipped with Portable Mobile Morgue boxes, sailed out from Kochi on 09 December 2017, for enabling it to bring bodies if found during the search operations. Thiruvananthapuram Sub collector Divya S. Iyer along with four local fishermen would be embarking the ship at sunrise on 10 December 2017 off Vizhinjam port for joining the deep sea search operations, while Indian Coast Guard Ship Abhinav which arrived off Vizhinjam in the evening on 09 December 2017 embarked 10 fishermen from pozhiyoor for co-ordinated search. The search is expected to continue up to 72 hours. A Total of three lakh twenty five thousand square miles have been searched and sanitised by Indian Naval assets for providing SAR since the calamity ‘Ockhi’ struck the L & M islands and Southeast Arabian Sea.
INS Jamuna continued replenishment of fresh water in excess of 14000 Litres today at Kavaratti. The Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) materials and medicines carried by INS Sharda were distributed in the Minicoy islands. Life is slowly becoming normal at the L& M Islands with the schools reopening. No further help other than the provisioning of daily fresh water at Kavaratti Island is being sought by the civil administration from the Navy.