New Delhi, 20 May 2021: Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh has lauded the efforts of the Armed Forces and the Indian Coast Guard for the ongoing search and rescue operations in areas affected due to Cyclone Tauktae. He commended the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard for saving the lives of people stranded at sea, while hailing Indian Army for deploying its columns in affected areas and the Indian Air Force for transporting personnel of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

Rajnath Singh is in constant touch with Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of the Army Staff General M M Naravane, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria and Director General of the Indian Coast Guard Shri K Natarajan who are briefing him on a regular basis.

It may be recalled that on May 17, 2021, the Raksha Mantri, during a review meeting, directed the Armed Forces to extend all possible assistance to the civil administration to tide over the impending cyclone.

The Indian Navy (IN) and the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) have deployed their sea and air assets and rescued more than 600 people from four barges off the Mumbai coast over the past few days.

Indian Naval ships and aircraft are currently engaged in Search and Rescue (SAR)operations to locate the 38 missing crew members of Accommodation Barge P-305, which sank on May17, 2021, 35 miles off Mumbai.INS Kochi, Kolkata, Beas, Betwa, Teg, P8I maritime surveillance aircraft, Chetak, ALH and Seaking helicopters are involved in the SAR operations.INS Talwar has also been diverted to provide assistance in relief and rescue operations. A total of 186 people of barge P-305has been rescued as of 7 am on May 20, 2021 and 37 mortal remains recovered.

Off the Gujarat coast, INS Talwar had assisted Support Station 3 and Drill Ship Sagar Bhushan, which are now being safely towed back to Mumbai by ONGC support vessels. Food and water to the 300 odd crew members of these vessels was also provided by the naval helicopters from Mumbai.

The Indian Coast Guard ships are also involved in SAR operations and have brought to safety crew of various adrift Indian Fishing Boats namely Badhriya, Jesus, Milad, Christ Bhavan, Pariyanayaki and Novas Ark off the coasts Kerala, Goa and Lakshadweep. The ICG and IN ships worked in coordination to evacuate nine crew members of MV Coromandel Supporter-IXoperating for Single Point Mooring (SPM) operations off New Mangalore Port.

ICGS Samrat, two ICG helicopters from Daman and one Indian Navy Seaking Helo from INS Shikra, Mumbai safely evacuated 137 personnel who were aboard MV Gal Constructor that was reported adrift North of Mumbai due to non-availability of power.

Earlier, the Indian Air Force had deployed its C-130J and An-32 aircraft to transport nearly 400 personnel of NDRF and 60 tonnes equipment to Ahmedabad.The Indian Army had mobilised two columns from Jamnagar for Diu along with Engineer Task Force. Two more columns were also staged forward to Junagadh for immediate response. The Army was also involved in clearing of roads and providing food and shelter to the needy.