Indian Navy conducts bi-annual exercise ‘Prasthan’ off Mumbai coast

The Indian Navy, along with other defence state and civil agencies completed a two-phased bi-annual exercise ‘Prasthan’ in the Offshore Development Area, off the Mumbai coast.

The bi-annual exercise, which is conducted every six months, was held on the R12A (Ratna) Platform of Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) around 83 km away from Mumbai harbour.

The ‘Prasthan’ is conducted to validate measures and procedures to address various contingencies that may arise in the oil production platforms and was held in two phases on Friday.

Noteworthy, the first phase saw security emergencies such as attack by terrorists and bomb threat from IEDs, and upon receiving the ‘threat’, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command, Mumbai, who is also the Commander-in-Chief (Coastal Defence), West activated the requisite contingency plan.

The Crisis Management Committee (CMC), comprising senior officials from various defence, State and civilian agencies, assembled at the Indian Navy’s Operation Centre to facilitate a coordinated response to all emergencies involved.

The CMC assessed various aspects of the emergencies and initiated coordinated actions by concerned agencies as per established Standard Operating Procedures.

The Indian Navy, in conjunction with the Indian Air Force, deployed its anti-sabotage teams to neutralise security threats in the affected oil platform.

Further, it also saw actions to counter contingencies such as terrorist intrusion, bomb threat, man overboard, medical evacuation of platform crew and oil spill in the area.

This was followed by the second phase which witnessed action against contingencies such as fire in the oil platform and assisting a disabled vessel in the offshore development area.

Further, several ships and helicopters from the Indian Navy, the Indian Air Force, the Indian Coast Guard, ONGC, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Director General of Shipping were deployed for the exercise.

Besides, personnel from Maharashtra Police, Customs, Fisheries Department, Mumbai Port Authorities, JN Port Authorities, India Met Department and other concerned State and Central civilian agencies also participated in the exercise.

The drills and procedures were undertaken in a synergetic and coordinated manner and provided a realistic setting to assess the preparedness of all concerned agencies to tackle these contingencies as also the procedures for coordinating actions among various agencies.

Now, a detailed analysis of all activities would be undertaken to refine existing procedures and assess aspects that need to be further strengthened and improved.