Indian Coast Guard conducted a two day National Maritime Search, Rescue Workshop and Exercise-2020 (SAREX-20) at Goa with participation of 24 overseas partners from 19 countries. Dr. Ajay Kumar, IAS, Secretary (Defence), Ministry of Defence, inaugurated SAREX-20.
This is for the first time the 03 pillars of national SAR mechanism i.e. Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Civil Aviation and Ministry of Defence took part in SAREX-20 which had the theme of Harmonization of Maritime and Aeronautical Search and Rescue code named ‘HAMSAR’. SAREX-20 witnessed the largest ever participation from international delegates including 38 national observers and representatives of 07 commercial airlines including 02 helicopter operators.
SAREX-20 included conduct of workshop and table top exercise followed by a sea exercise the second day. SAREX exercise is being 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 07 ships, 10 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 Organization and various other stake holders participated in the sea exercise 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.