Indian Navy, Coast Guard rescue 20 from drifting ship

Discussion in 'Indian Navy' started by Srinivas_K, Jun 23, 2015.

  1. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

    Jun 17, 2009
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    Indian Navy, Coast Guard rescue 20 from drifting ship
    Jun 23, 2015 - Adele Macdonald |

    The distressed ship Jindal Kamakshi being rescued by Naval Sea King helicopter and Coast Guard Chetak on Monday

    The Indian Navy and Coast Guard helicopters overcame difficult weather conditions to rescue 20 people on board a drifting merchant ship off Vasai coast in neighbouring Palghar district on Monday.

    Around 11 pm on June 21, an Indian flagged container vessel Jindal Kamakshi sent a distress alert. The vessel was on passage from Mundra to Kochi with 20 crew members onboard. The merchant vessel was about 100 kilometres from the Mumbai harbour and reported that it was tilting to one side by 20 degrees.

    As the bad weather worsened the situation, the ship closed the shore and anchored about 25 kilometres off Vasai Creek. The distress signal was received by the Coast Guard Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC Mumbai).

    The Indian Navy then immediately launched a Sea King helicopter at 12.45 am on June 22. The destroyer INS Mumbai was brought to immediate readiness and sailed out at 2 am. By 6.15 am on June 22, the conditions worsened due to strong winds, heavy rains and dangerously high waves. The Captain of the merchant vessel requested assistance to evacuate the crew.

    The Navy sent its Sea King helicopters for a search and rescue operation. Indian Coast Guard, meanwhile, being the National Maritime Search and Rescue Coordinating Authority, launched Chetak helicopters from Daman and Mumbai.

    “We got a distress message around 5:30 am in the morning, saying that there was a problem with the ship” said Commander K.V.K. Gosavi the first pilot of the Coast Guard Chetak helicopter.

    The ship was 30 to 35 nautical miles from Mumbai, and about 40 to 45 nautical miles from INS Shikra the Naval air squadron in Mumbai. “We were told to be on stand-by as the weather was not conducive for Chetak operations. So the Naval Sea King helicopter, was called on to carry out the rescue,” added Mr Gosavi.

    Once the weather cleared up a little, the Coast Guard Chetak helicopter also joined the operation, he said.

    When they arrived at the spot, the weather was not too bad; however, visibility was low, the sea was rough and winds strong.

    After getting all clearances from the Air Traffic Control, they had to look out for the two Naval Sea Kings that were out for the rescue and another CG Chetak, which had been dispatched from Daman.

    “Upon reaching the location, we found that the ship had tilted by some 30 degrees to one side. When we arrived, the Naval Sea King informed us that they had already rescued 19 of the 20 people onboard,” said Mr Gosavi.

    The naval diver who helped the survivors to get aboard the Sea King and the Captain of the ship were still on board the merchant vessel.

    The Coast Guard Chetak then winched up captain Mahender Pal Prabhakar.

    A Naval Sea King helicopter then picked up the diver.

    Mr Gosavi told The Asian Age that the captain of the ship was rescued first as he was a civilian and did not know how to wear a strop and be winched up to the aircraft.

    While co-pilot Amit Kadian was flying the Chetak helicopter, Mr Gosavi kept looking out for better visibility.

    When they finally got a clearer view of the ship’s Captain and the diver, they were on the bridge of the ship near the mast. This made the rescue operation a challenge, he said.

    Mr Gosavi added that it was a tricky operation as the rescue had to be carried out about 150 feet above the choppy waters.

    The weather too was not in their favour as the strong winds made the strop sway away from the ship, he said

    “Strong winds made it difficult for a steady hover. The tilted ship proved to be one more obstacle in the way of rescue,” said Mr Gosavi.

    He also lauded his team, co-pilot Mr Kadian and Air Crew diver Pradhan Navik Pardeep Kumar for their commendable rescue operation.

    Mr Gosavi has served the Indian defence services for 25 years and is a decorated pilot with a Navsena Medal and a Shaurya Chakra to his name.

    Assistant Commandant Mr Kadian from New Delhi (25) has been with the Indian Coast Guard for six years. This was his third search and rescue operation.

    Mr Kumar from Haryana (30) has been as a trained Air Crew diver for the last five and a half years. This was his fifth search and rescue operation.

    Merchant vessel Jindal Kamakshi is currently at anchor and abandoned.

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