Port Blair Current Affairs - 2019
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Naval Air Station (NAS) Shibpur has been commissioned as INS Kohassa. It is a step forward in enhancing the operational capability of Andaman and Nicobar Command. NAS Shibpur was commissioned as INS Kohassa by Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba.
INS Kohassa will be India’s fourth air base and the third naval air facility in the Andaman and Nicobar region that overlooks key sea lanes of communication and strategic points with more than 60,000 commercial vessels passing through each year.
The other two Naval Air Bases in the Andaman and Nicobar region are INS Utkrosh at Port Blair and INS Baaz at Campbell Bay. INS Kohassa is named after White-Bellied Sea Eagle, which is a large bird of prey endemic to Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
INS Kohassa will also function as a base for joint operation of both military and civil aircraft in keeping with the UDAN scheme of the government. The airbase will be able to handle Helicopter and Dornier Aircraft at present and after expansion the facility would enable the operation of bigger civil and defence aircraft
Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has conducted Regional Level Marine Oil Pollution Response Exercise titled ‘Clean Sea– 2018’ at sea off Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar (A&B) Islands. The objective of exercise was to ascertain preparedness of IGC, resource agencies and other stakeholders in responding to major oil spill in line with 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.
Need for exercise
Great Channel between Nicobar Islands and Northern Sumatra that leads into Malacca Straits is marine drive of high seas. Almost 200 ships cross 160-km wide Straits daily making it among busiest sea routes of world. Considering, high intensity of oil tanker traffic through this route, the area is highly vulnerable to oil spills. So there is need for robust national system for oil spill response is critical.
Highlights of Clean Sea-2018
The exercise was planned to evaluate preparedness for Response Operations for any such oil pollution incident in highly sensitive area of A&B islands. 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.
Indian Coast Guard (ICG) under Ministry of Defence is responsible for marine environment protection in maritime zones of India and is coordinating authority for response to oil spills in Indian waters. It has drawn up National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan (NOS-DCP) and has established three pollution response centres at Mumbai, Chennai and Port Blair.