Defence News India: In a first, Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard conducted a large scale anti hijacking exercise off the Port of Kochi in southern India. The two day long exercise also involved several other stake holders such as Cochin Port Trust and other departments and organizations. This was the first time that such a large scale exercise involving all stake holders has been conducted in Kerala, said the defence ministry.
The Exercise code named Apharan (Abduction) saw participation of multiple agencies, including more than 12 ships and helicopters of the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and Cochin Port Trust.
As part of the scenario, interdiction of a rogue vessel outside Kochi port and insertion of marine commandos onto the hijacked vessel through boarding operations, as well as slithering down onto its deck from a Sea King helicopter, were exercised.
The anti-hijacking exercise Apharan (Abduction) was aimed at streamlining the response mechanism to thwart any attempt by anti-national elements to hijack a merchant vessel or attempt forced entry of a rogue merchant vessel into Kochi harbour.
“Hijacking of a merchant vessel is considered one of the challenging scenarios in the field of coastal security. It requires synergy of resources, assets and efforts of all stake holders including the states to tackle such threats,” said the ministry of defence.
“The exercise provided an opportunity to all stakeholders to assess the preparedness of their respective organisations, identify gaps to address them on priority as well as to formulate an integrated Crisis Management Plan for Kochi Port,” said the government.
The exercise was supervised by the commander-in-chief of coastal defence (Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command), Kerala.