‘OP Sahayam’ of Southern Naval Command persisted for the eleventh day on 10th December, 2017 over Southeast Arabian Sea and Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands with 10 ships and all aircraft into the search and rescue (SAR) operations to find scores of fishermen still missing.
Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft P8I searched over entire Maldives. Fishing community had estimated few vessels to be stranded in the islands of Maldives. Expeditious clearance was obtained through diplomatic channels to fly over Maldives and calls were given on Very high frequency (VHF) Radio. Officials have also confirmed that Maldivian local undertook search and have not located any fishermen on the islands.
INS Sujata equipped with mobile morgue boxes, embarked four fishermen and deputy Tehsildar Mr Mohan Raj on 10 Dec 17 at Vizhinjam port for joining the deep sea search operations. The search is expected to continue up to the satisfaction of the fishermen.
INS Subhadra, another naval vessel under routine deployment, identified twelve crew onboard two Tamil Nadu registered fishing vessels Milkyas & Felaxia about 90 miles Northwest of Bitra island of Lakshdweep group of Islands. The fishermen requested assistance for drinking water and 1500L was transferred to them. The ship, in its further search encountered two capsized fishing vessels, Annei and AVM EP Turai and investigation revealed no survivors onboard. This has been intimated to the State Governments.
The Reverse Osmosis (RO) plant which provides fresh water to the islands is yet to be made functional and hence Indian Navy continued with replenishment of fresh water in excess of 70000 Ltrs to Kavaratti
Over Four lakh square miles have been searched/ sanitised by Indian Naval assets for providing SAR since the calamity ‘Ockhi’ struck the L & M islands and Southeast Arabian Sea.