Indian Coast Guard conducted the XVII National Maritime Search and Rescue Board (NMSARB) meeting at New Delhi on July 5, 2018. The apex level Maritime Search and Rescue meeting was chaired by Director General Rajendra Singh, Director General Indian Coast Guard and Chairman, National Maritime Search & Rescue Board (NMSARB). The Board comprising 28 members from various ministries, agencies, all Coastal States & Union Territories meets annually to discuss policy issues, formulate guidelines & procedures and assess the efficacy of National Search and Rescue Plan. The meeting was also attended by representative of Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries and senior officials of Fisheries Department from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
During the inaugural address, the Chairman highlighted various initiatives of Indian Coast Guard in coordination with other stakeholders for improving the Search and Rescue infrastructure and services within the 4.6 million sq km vast Indian Search & Rescue Region. He reiterated the need of mandatory carriage of life saving and communication equipment onboard all fishing vessels for safety of fishermen. Further, he advocated the need for collaborative approach with capacity building of stakeholders towards strengthening the maritime SAR architecture.
Apart from deliberations on various maritime safety issues and identifying areas of improvement of Search and Rescue services, the NMSAR Board recognises the SAR efforts of merchant mariners, government owned vessels and fishermen every year. For the year 2017-18, MV ALS Ceres and OSV Greatship Prachi were jointly awarded the Indian Coast Guard SAR Award for Merchant Vessel for collectively saving 39 lives. Indian Coast Guard SAR Award for Fisherman was awarded to Mr Milan Shankar Tare from Maharashtra for saving 12 lives from a sinking fishing boat. SAR Award for government owned SAR Unit was awarded to Indian Coast Guard Ship C-427 and MV Kodithala for saving 38 and seven lives respectively during Severe Cyclone 'Ockhi' which created havoc off Tamil Nadu and Kerala coast in Dec 2017.
Indian Coast Guard being the nodal agency for Maritime Search and Rescue has rescued 9064 lives by co-ordinating 2867 search and rescue missions, which inter alia includes 2350 air sorties and 3176 ship sorties, since inception.
During the last one year, a total of 1363 lives were saved, out of which 907 lives were saved exclusively by Indian Coast Guard units while 456 lives were saved in co-ordination with fishermen, merchant mariners and other resource agencies.