Bengaluru, June 13: A home-grown technology has come to the rescue of humankind once again emphasizing why India should invest more in R&D across all spectrums. The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) which has been increasingly being involved in SAR (Search and Rescue) missions in the last one year, yet again played the role of a savior on Sunday (June 12).
In a well-coordinated sea-air-mission, an ICG helicopter rescued 7 crew members from a sinking vessel MSV Safina-Al-Ghelani, 40 miles south of Port Blair.
According to ICG officials, the vessel sailed from Port Blair on June 11 morning, carrying cargo for Hutbay. Owing to bad weather and rough sea, water entered the vessel, flooding the engine room. On Suday morning, the vessel completely sank.
Distress Alert Transmitter proved useful again
ICG says all lives could be saved due to the timely warning sent by the vessel with the help of Distress Alert Transmitter (DAT), a low-cost, indigenously-developed equipment.
Using one of the INSAT series satellites, the signal from DAT was relayed to the Coast Guard Marine Rescue Coordination Centre.
"We have been impressing upon the fishermen and other mariners to carry necessary life saving equipment especially during monsoon season. A toll free help line number 1554 is also available with mariners to inform any distress situation to ICG for facilitating speedy search and rescue at sea," says an official.
The distress message raised by vessel was received by ICG MRCC Port Blair, which launched a SAR mission immediately.
Two ships -- ICGS Rajshree and C-428 -- sailed from Port Blair, while a helicopter was launched in SAR configuration as well. One DSS Ship MV Sentinel was also diverted towards the distressed vessel.
"The helicopter sighted the distressed ship near North Brother Island. The vessel was badly damaged and submerged near the Island. Despite strong winds and adverse weather, the helicopter rescued all the seven crew from the vessel," says an official.
Technology best bet during emergencies: ICG Spokesperson
Speaking to OneIndia on Monday, ICG Spokesperson Inderjit Singh said the rescued men were brought to Port Blair for medical examination.
"The medical test is mandatory and as per our SOP. The rescued crew members were medically examined and all are reported to be healthy," said Singh.
ICG officials want all vessel owners and fishermen to equip their assets with DAT and other GPS-enabled equipment.
"It's important that we put to use all our available technologies for a smooth and incident-free, marine missions. DAT has proven its worth once again with Sunday's incident," Singh added.
Last year, in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, DATs were distributed to fishermen. The officials had said then that the DAT helped to locate the whereabouts of boats, which could be later monitored by the control rooms in Chennai.