The Coast Guards of India and Japan holding a joint exercise (SAREX-18) off Chennai 

Ships and aircraft of the Indian Coast Guard and its Japanese counterpart conducted a joint naval drill off the coast here today.

As many as nine ships and eight aircraft of the Indian Coast Guard along with Japanese Coast Guard Ship ‘Tsugaru’ with helo (helicopter pad on the deck of a ship) participated in the biennial Search and Rescue Exercise 2018.

The Indian Coast Guard’s ICG Sarang, Sagar, Shaurya, Vaibhav, Anagh, Rani Abbakka, Abheek, C-431, C-432 and three Dornier and Chetak helicopters took part in the exercise in the Bay of Bengal.

The exercise was witnessed by ICG Director General Rajendra Singh and Japanese CG Commandant Admiral Satoshi Nakajima and was conducted by Coast Guard Eastern Region Commander Inspector General Rajan Bargotra. Observers from 17 countries, a delegation from the Coast Guard of Japan, and members of the National Maritime Search and Rescue Board also witnessed the drill.

The exercise included a scenario in which a cruise vessel was hijacked and the forces of both the countries were engaged in rescue of passengers.

Indian Coast Guard helicopters landing on the Japanese ship and vice versa, interdiction of pirate vessel, cross boarding, demonstration and external fire fighting were the other highlights of the exercise.

The culmination of the exercise marked the “steam past by the ships” and fly past by the aircraft.

The drill also marked an incident that took place in 1999, when a Japan flagged ship MV Alondra Rainbow was hijacked and repainted as MV Mega Rama by pirates. It was apprehended by the Indian Coast Guard off the Mumbai Coast in the Arabian Sea.