10th National Maritime Search & Rescue Exercise (SAREX-2022) was inaugurated by Dr Ajay Kumar, Defence Secretary at Chennai today in the presence of VS Pathania, Director General Indian Coast Guard today. The two day exercise which is conducted under the aegis of the National Maritime Search and Rescue Board (NMSARB) is hosted by the Indian Coast Guard, being the nodal maritime SAR coordinating agency for the Indian Search & Rescue Region (ISRR). In addition to 51 participants from national Maritime SAR stakeholders, the exercise is being attended by 24 observers from 16 friendly foreign countries. SAREX-22 will be spread over two days (27 & 28 Aug 22) and will validate the Standard Operating Procedures and best practices during conduct of a Mass Rescue Operation (MRO). This exercise is conducted once in every two years at different locations along the coast of India to simulate and conduct a real time scenario on maritime contingency including search and rescue.

The theme of this edition of biennial exercise is “Capacity Building Towards Marine Passenger Safety” and signifies the resolve and commitment of the NMSARB and other stakeholder agencies in providing succour during large scale contingencies within our ISSR and beyond.

Defence Secretary after inaugurating the Event said that the Indian Coast Guard is playing a crucial and important role in expansion of maritime infrastructure and supporting the Governments of India projects like Sagarmala. He also mentioned the recent rescue of 32 Bangladeshi fishermen by the Indian Coast Guard gives the necessary background for highlighting the importance of this exercise. While speaking on adoption of latest technologies by the Indian Coast Guard, the Defence Secretary mentioned the plan of showcasing unmanned SAR life-buoy developed by an Indian startup in the Exercise.

Director General of Indian Coast Guard VS Pathania in his address said that in SAREX-22 two mass rescue contingencies will be simulated; one involving a passenger vessel and the other one with a passenger aircraft. He added that India’s geolocation at the centre stage of the Indian Ocean Region and the dense merchant marine / fishing always keeps us on guard. The DG Coast Guard also highlighted that as the nodal maritime Search and Rescue agency of India, Indian Coast Guard have saved more than 11,500 lives stranded at sea in the last four decades.

Sanjay Barar, Additional Director General Shipping, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Dr. Jujjavarapu Balaji, Joint Secretary (Marine Fisheries), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Sharad Kumar, Director Airports Authority of India, Chennai, Coast Guard Regional Commanders, National Maritime Search and Rescue (NMSAR) Board Members were also present for the inaugural session.