Indian Coast Guard conducts Exercise at sea off Port Blair: Clean Sea-2018

Why in news?

  • Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has conducted Regional Level Marine Oil Pollution Response Exercise titled ‘Clean Sea– 2018’ at the sea off Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar (A&B) Islands.


  • The objective of the exercise was to ascertain preparedness of IGC, resource agencies and other stakeholders in responding to a major oil spill in line with the provisions of National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan (NOS-DCP).
  • ICG ships Viswasth, Vijith, Rajveer, Rajshri, 4 interceptor boats and its air assets Dornier and Chetak helicopters participated in the exercise.
  • The exercise was conducted in two phases for synchronizing support and cooperation provided by all stakeholders for combating oil spills in such ecologically sensitive areas.
  • The exercise saw participation of ICG Pollution Control Vessel and integration of ICG Dornier/Chetak aircraft into Oil Spill Disaster Management System for aerial assessment and delivery of Oil Spill Dispersant for mitigation of spilled oil.
  • The exercise was planned to evaluate preparedness for Response Operations for any such oil pollution incident in the highly sensitive area of A&B islands.

Significance of the exercise:

  • Great Channel between Nicobar Islands and Northern Sumatra that leads into Malacca Straits is a marine drive of high seas.
  • Almost 200 ships cross 160-km wide Straits daily making it among busiest sea routes of world.
  • Considering, the high intensity of oil tanker traffic through this route, the area is highly vulnerable to oil spills.
  • So, the need for a robust national system for oil spill response is critical.

National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan:

  • Indian Coast Guard (ICG) under Ministry of Defence is responsible for marine environment protection in maritime zones of India and is the coordinating authority for response to oil spills in Indian waters.
  • It has drawn up the National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan (NOS-DCP) and has established three pollution response centres at Mumbai, Chennai and Port Blair.
  • It mandates that all major ports in India should have basic, minimum equipment, like inflatable booms and oil skimmers, to tackle oil spill.
  • It highlights the responsibilities for individual Ports.

Objectives of the plan are:

  • To develop appropriate and effective systems for the detection and reporting of spillage of oil.
  • To ensure prompt response to prevent, control, and combat oil pollution.
  • To ensure that adequate protection is provided to the public health and welfare, and the marine environment.
  • To ensure that appropriate response techniques are employed to prevent, control, and combat oil pollution, and dispose off recovered material in an environmentally accepted manner.
  • To ensure that complete and accurate records are maintained of all expenditure to facilitate cost of recovery.
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