INS Nireekshak: On search & rescue of the missing Fishermen

The diving support vessel (DSV) of the Indian Navy, INS Nireekshak was pressed into action to undertake deep-sea diving operations on 16 Apr 21. The ship has so far recovered the bodies of three out of nine fishermen who went missing after their boat collided with a foreign cargo vessel off the Mangaluru coast on Tuesday.

The bodies were handed over to local authorities at New Mangalore yesterday (17 April 2021). The ship is carrying out the next round of underwater search operations in the area to find the other six missing fishermen.

The Collision

On April 13, three fishermen were killed and nine others had gone missing when their mechanised fishing boat, IFB Rabah, capsized after getting hit by a Singapore registered vessel MV APL Le Havre, 41 Nautical Miles west of New Mangalore. Three ICG ships and aircraft had been deployed for the operation. After the collision, out of the 14 crew members onboard the fishing vessel, two crew members were rescued immediately by the Indian Coast Guard.

Deployment of INS Nireekshak

Responding to the request of beginning underwater search operations from the Department of Fisheries, Govt of Tamil Nadu, Indian Naval Ship Nireekshak – a specialised Diving Support Vessel, was deployed under the sea two days after the incident. The request was made in order to search for the remaining crew likely to be trapped inside the submerged boat (depth in the area approx 130 m – 200m). On 16 April, the team of naval divers onboard INS Nireekshak successfully found the sunken boat and subsequently recovered three bodies. The ship is back in the region to continue with the search operation.

INS Nireekshak: A brief history

INS Nireekshak is a diving support vessel of the Indian Navy. It is also capable of functioning as an interim submarine rescue vessel. It was acquired by the Indian Navy in June 1989. According to reports, the ship was then modified and refitted with the diving bell and other rescue equipment. The ship has two Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicles, which possess the capability of carrying 12 men to 300 meters together, with two six-man recompression chambers and one three-man diving bell. It helps in facilitating rescue from a submarine in distress and training of saturation divers. A team of saturation divers had created a national diving record in 2013 from INS Nireekshak. The team operated at 257 metres in the Arabian Sea, about 65 km off Kochi, beating their own February 2011 record of having operated at 233 metres (764 ft).

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