Imagine three warships cruising in tandem in the open sea, while transferring men, ammunition and supply or a commando operation unveiling right in front of your eyes where marine commandos storm and take control of a suspicious vessel. The operational prowess and capabilities of the Indian Navy was on full display as the Southern Naval Command took a team of media persons to the open sea, around 25 nautical miles off the shore, to demonstrate their professionalism and bravery.
While the media persons were accommodated on INS Sunayna, a Naval Offshore Patrol Vessel, three other ships—INS Tir, Coast Guard’s ICGS Sarathi and INS Magar—also participated in the demonstration. Two sail training ships INS Sudarshini and INS Tarangini, also joined the operation.
The day started with the display of force protection measures in the Kochi shipping channel, where big vessels have manoeuvrability constraints. A Fast Interceptor Craft which acted as the vanguard and a speedboat of the vessel took on a suspicious boat that approached the vessel despite warning.
Next was the VBSS (visit, board, search and seizure) operation, where a team of marine commandos demonstrated a compliant operation, subduing the master of the ship, searching the vessel and seizing unauthorised items onboard. “We have conducted many VBSS operations this year, including the seizure of drugs from a Pakistani vessel in May this year. We have conducted similar operations in the Gulf of Aden, off Somalian coast, the area which is notorious for pirates,” said Sub-lieutenant Kaushal Kumar Patralekh, the watch-keeping officer of INS Sunayna.
A Chetak helicopter, a single-engine, light-utility copter of the Navy, demonstrated search and rescue operation at sea lowering a personnel to the sea and winching him up. Later, the copter demonstrated landing on a moving ICGS Sarathi, which was swaying pitching and rolling in the sea.
The operations culminated with the demonstration of a replenishment operation, where supply, ammunition and personnel are transferred from one ship to another while moving in tandem at a distance of 36 m. Two media persons were transferred from INS Sunayna to INS Tir using a rope to help understand the intricacies of the operation. INS Tir, INS Sunayna and Coast Guard ship Sarathi participated in the demonstration.
Navy spokesperson Commander Sridhar Warrier, Commanding officer of INS Sunayna, Commander Rohit Bajpai, executive officer and second in command Lieutenant-Commander Akshay Kumar Raja explained the operations. D emonstrations were coordinated by commanding officer of INS Tir Captain Varun Singh, a marine commando who was awarded Mahavir Chakra for his services in the Kargil war, and Commandant Arun Singh, captain of ICGS Sarathi.
Ships that took part in demo ::
lINS Sunayna, lINS Tir
lINS Magar, lICGS Sarathi
Three-masted sail training ships
600 personnel participated in the demo