Port Blair, Sept. 20: At about 0900 hrs on 19 Sep 20, Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), Port Blair received a COSPAS SARSAT distress alert originated by an inter-island cargo vessel named ‘MV Kottai Ramaiah. On receipt of information, MRCC Port Blair immediately launched multifarious swift Search and Rescue Mission. With due consideration to the criticality of the situation owing to prevailing cyclonic weather, without wasting any further time, Indian Coast Guard diverted CG aircraft which was on routine maritime surveillance for investigation and to access the situation. Meanwhile, MRCC staff made several attempts but was not able to establish any communication with the distressed vessel.

As per the information available from sources, the vessel had left Hutbay at 0500 hrs on 18 Sep 20 for passage to Teressa Island with ETA 0800 hrs on 19 Sep 20. However, the vessel did not reach Teressa as per the scheduled time.

At about 1130 hrs, the Coast Guard aircraft located the distress vessel drifting in area about 20 Nm east of Little Andaman and established communication. The vessel reported complete breakdown of navigation and long range communication equipment due to short circuit. Handheld portable VHF walkie talkie with limited range was the only means of communication left with the vessel. The crew got disoriented as they had no means to ascertain the position of the ship at sea due to failure of GPS, Radar and other nav-aids onboard. The vessel had 10 crew onboard and all were reported to be safe. As the vessel had no means of fixing the position, Coast Guard aircraft guided the vessel towards nearest port Hutbay.

Meanwhile, Indian Coast Guard Ship C-412, sailed from Hutbay at      1400 hrs and safely escorted the distress vessel to Hutbay. The crew of the vessel has been advised by the Coast Guard authorities to get their equipment repaired and proceed to sea only after the vessel is completely sea worthy.

“Such successful Search and Rescue (SAR) missions reinforce the trust and confidence of mariners in distress on Indian Coast Guard as a leading SAR agency. This SAR Operation has once again proved professional acumen and unabated commitment of Indian Coast Guard towards safeguarding precious lives at sea in all spheres of operations befitting with the motto of Indian Coast Guard VAYAM RAKSHAMA - WE PROTECT”.