Monday, January 23, 2012

Coast Guard shows off skills at sea

CHENNAI: In a colourful exercise, the Coast Guard (CG) personnel demonstrated their skills in search and rescue and coastal security operations in the sea, off the Chennai’s coastline, as part of the 35th founding day celebrations of the coastal security force on Sunday. 
In consonance with its tag line ‘We Protect’, personnel onboard CG ships Sagar, Sarang, Vishwast, Vajra, Sarojini Naidu and Interceptor Boats C-151, C-146 and Hovercraft-151, 183 along with Chetak helicopters demonstrated their capabilities in anti-piracy and poaching activities as well as saving lives.
Scenes of swiftly rescuing a survivor on high seas from a helicopter and dropping a life raft were fascinatingly recreated. Chasing and apprehending pirates and precise target firing by dornier maritime surveillance aircraft were gripping. Firing from heavy machine guns on Sarang, fleet manoeuvres and fire fighting techniques mesmerised onlookers. The ships and aircraft carried out a ‘smart steam past and fly past’, saluting their regional commander, Inspector General Satya Prakash Sharma.
Speaking to reporters on board Sarang, Sharma said the exercise had the twin objectives of sensitising the common man to the role of CG besides providing an opportunity to families of sailors of the force to see what their loved ones did.
Boat race and more
On other activities as part of anniversary celebrations, Sharma said a boat race would be held for fishermen on the Marina on February 6 and 7 to connect with fishermen, whose protection is a key objective for the coastal security force. A motorcycle rally on Sunday started from Kanyakumari and would reach Chennai on February 1. The rally would cover all coastal villages to increase awareness of the CG.
A joint exercise would be held along with the Japanese Coast Guard, “Settsu,” on January 29 in seas off Chennai. Chief of Indian CG, vice admiral MP Muralidharan, and head of Japanese CG would participate.

Sense of belonging draws spouses to ships

CHENNAI: When a woman, in her early fifties gently patted the imposing Coast Guard ship Sarang as she disembarked after a day at sea, it reminded one of Maximus in the film Gladiator, who runs his fingers through through the wheat grown on his fields.
Little wonder, wives of officers of the Coast Guard have a strong sense of belonging and love towards the ship in which their spouses spend a good part of their lives. Something like this cannot be normally expected from families of employees of other sectors.
This is my ship. My husband (Gurupdesh Singh) commanded this majestic vessel (Sarang) before his elevation as Chief of Staff,” declared Amrita Singh with a tinge of excitement.
Anandi Dinakaran, whose better half had been a commandant of ships, including the recently decommissioned Kittur Chennamma, said sea and vessels had always been a thing of joy for them, an extended “member” of the family.
“I love and respect ships. When we come on board, we understand the difficult job, a member of the armed forces does at sea.”
If this is what the spouses feel, how do those who actually work feel?
Says Sanjay Aryavir, Commanding officer of CG Squardon 848 (choppers): “The sea is our revered work place and I have saved many lives as part of my duty. However, we could do little to save lives in the recent Pulicat tragedy despite our best efforts. Incidents like these affect us.”

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