Exercise Sea Defenders - 2024: Indian and US coast guards successfully conclude joint drills off Andamans

Team India Sentinels Sunday 10th of March 2024 05:38 PM

ICGS Shaurya (front) with USCGC Befrtholf  (middle) and another ICG vessel in a drill during Exercise Sea Defenders – 2024. (India Sentinels photo via special arrangement.)

New Delhi: The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) wrapped up their comprehensive maritime security exercise, “Sea Defenders – 2024”, in Port Blair, on Saturday. This collaborative effort aimed to strengthen cooperation and ensure both forces can operate seamlessly together.

The exercise encompassed a range of simulated scenarios. The ICG demonstrated its expertise in tackling environmental threats through a pollution response demonstration, showcasing its ships and aircraft's capabilities in handling oil spills and other maritime hazards. Additionally, visit board search and seizure (VBSS) operations were practiced preparing for inspecting vessels suspected of illegal activity.

The ICG’s aerial prowess was on display as its helicopters, and Dornier-228 aircraft conducted search-and-rescue and pollution-response drills. These exercises highlighted the ICG’s ability to conduct aerial surveillance and rescue missions at sea. The scenario also factored in countering modern threats like drone attacks on commercial ships.

Indian and US coast guard officers during Exercise Sea Defenders – 2024 in Port Blair. (India Sentinels photo via special arrangement.)

Furthermore, the exercise provided a platform for both USCG and ICG personnel to hone their firefighting and damage control skills. A simulated scenario allowed damage control firefighting (DCFFs) teams from both sides to showcase their capabilities in combating shipboard emergencies.

Following the exercise, US Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Bertholf departed Port Blair. Its visit was marked by a series of engaging activities, both in port and at sea, designed to build strong collaboration. Crew members from both the Bertholf and the ICG participated in cross-visits, touring each other’s ships, and gaining valuable insights into procedures and capabilities. Additionally, a friendly badminton competition fostered camaraderie and interaction outside a professional setting.

Sea Defenders-like joint exercises offer invaluable training opportunities for both coast guards. They allow personnel to refine their skills and improve their ability to work together in a coordinated manner. The visit of the USCGC Bertholf to Port Blair stands as a powerful symbol of the growing partnership between the US and Indian coast guards, the Indian Coast Guard said.

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