INS Sarvekshak, a hydrographic survey ship of the Indian Navy, conducting survey efforts in vicinity of the ill fated MV X-Press Pearl and off Colombo (Images courtesy: Indian Embassy in Sri Lanka)
INS Sarvekshak, a hydrographic survey ship of the Indian Navy currently assisting the government of Sri Lanka in conducting survey efforts in vicinity of the ill fated MV X-Press Pearl and off Colombo, has detected 54 objects during 208 miles of Side Scan Sonar survey. The operation progressed with integral sensors and two survey boats to achieve 200% insonification while aerial recce also progressed to facilitate survey effort.
The Indian Naval Ship, equipped with the state-of-the-art survey equipment including Deep Sea Multi-Beam Echo Sounder, Side Scan Sonars and a fully automated digital surveying and processing system, was deployed upon a formal request from the Lankan government to ensure safety of navigation in areas outside the Colombo harbour.
INS Sarvekshak, which has also undertaken various foreign cooperation surveys over the last few years in Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania and Kenya, arrived in Colombo on June 24, the auspicious Poson Poya Day which marks the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka from India. The joint survey operations are being conducted with the coordinated participation of the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA), Sri Lanka Navy and Indian Navy.
MV X-Press Pearl which caught fire on May 20 was reportedly carrying 1,486 containers out of which large numbers fell into the sea before the fire was doused after an extensive India-Sri Lanka joint operation as part of 'Operation Sagar Aaraksha 2'.
Many institutions like the UN, UNEP as well as officials from the Sri Lankan government have assessed that the containers that fell off the ship pose a grave concern to the livelihood of the fisherman community staying along the western coast of Sri Lanka as also to the safety of navigation of marine traffic operating through Colombo port.
The joint Survey Operations would assist in restoring safe navigation in the area and complement India’s 'Neighborhood First' policy that calls for, amongst other things, swift support in mitigating such calamities in the Indian Ocean Region.
It also marks another glorious chapter in the millennia old friendly and close ties between the two neighbours.