NATPOLREX-IX: Indian Coast Guard’s Pollution Response Exercise
The 9th National Level Pollution Response Exercise (NATPOLREX-IX) was carried out by the Indian Coast Guard on November 25, 2023, off Vadinar, Gujarat. This event aimed to assess the readiness and coordination of various agencies in responding to a marine oil spill, as per the National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan (NOSDCP).
Key Participants and International Presence
Director General Rakesh Pal and Chairman NOSDCP, leading the Indian Coast Guard, reviewed the preparedness during NATPOLREX-IX. The exercise saw participation from representatives of central and coastal state governments, ports, oil handling agencies, and more than 31 foreign observers and 80 delegates. NATPOLREX-IX successfully achieved its objective, evaluating the preparedness and coordination among resource agencies in responding to a marine oil spill, as outlined in the NOSDCP.
Deployment of Resources and Technological Showcase
The Indian Coast Guard utilized various platforms, including Pollution Response Vessels (PRVs), Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), Advanced Light Helicopter Mk-III, and Dornier Aircraft configured for marine pollution response. The event highlighted India’s industrial capabilities under the ‘Make in India’ initiative, aligning with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat.’
Coast Guard’s Environmental Protection Role Since 1986
The Indian Coast Guard assumed responsibilities for safeguarding the marine environment in India’s maritime zones on March 7, 1986, transferring these duties from the Ministry of Shipping. Subsequently, the Coast Guard developed the NOSDCP for combating oil spill disasters at sea, approved by the Committee of Secretaries in 1993. Pollution Response Centers have been established at Mumbai, Chennai, Port Blair, and Vadinar.
Importance of a National Oil Spill Response System
A robust national system for oil spill response is vital for India’s preparedness in the face of oil spill disasters in its waters, considering that 75 percent of the country’s energy requirements are met by imported oil transported by sea. The inherent risks of oil transportation demand preventive measures from both ship owners and oil receiving facilities within ports. However, the omnipresent threat of oil pollution through maritime accidents and unforeseen perils of the sea persists.
Role of the Indian Coast Guard as Central Coordinating Authority
The Indian Coast Guard holds the pivotal role of being the Central Coordinating Authority for responding to oil spills in Indian waters, overseeing and coordinating efforts to mitigate the environmental impact of such incidents.
Important Questions Related to Exam
1. What was the objective of NATPOLREX-IX, and where did it take place?
Answer: NATPOLREX-IX aimed to assess the readiness and coordination of various agencies in responding to a marine oil spill. It took place off Vadinar, Gujarat, on November 25, 2023.
2. What types of platforms were utilized by the Indian Coast Guard for air and surface operations during NATPOLREX-IX?
Answer: The Indian Coast Guard utilized Pollution Response Vessels (PRVs), Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), Advanced Light Helicopter Mk-III, and Dornier Aircraft configured for marine pollution response.