India’s satellite-based search and rescue system detected and supported two real distress calls that led to the rescue of 25 people, the annual report of the Department of Space said.
One of the calls was from a Singaporean vessel when it caught fire after explosion in July 2004, the report said.
The other was from a Maldivian vessel all of whose engines had failed and was totally ‘blacked out’ at about 100 nautical miles off the coast of Kochi in November 2004, it said.
India is a member of the international programme for providing distress alert and position location service through LEOSAR (Low Earth Orbit Search and Rescue ) satellite system. It has established two local user terminals (LUTs) – one each in Lucknow and Bangalore. The Indian Mission Control Centre (INMCC) is located at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC), Bangalore, the report said.
Indian LUTs provide coverage to a large part of the Indian Ocean region rendering distress alert services to Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Tanzania. The operations are funded by Coast Guard, Airport Authority of India and Director General of Shipping and Services, it said.
The distress alert messages concerning the Indian Service area, detected at INMCC, are passed on to Indian Coast Guard and Rescue Coordination Centres at Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and Chennai. The search and rescue activities are carried out by the Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force.
The Indian system is linked to the Regional Control Centres and International MCCs, the report added.