The Indian Navy Chief, Admiral Karambir Singh, has awarded an On-The-Spot Unit Citation to INS Nireekshak for its successful salvage operation of a grounded merchant vessel off the coast of Tamil Nadu. The citation was presented to the crew of INS Nireekshak during a ceremony at the Naval Dockyard in Visakhapatnam.
The operation, which took place in January 2021, involved the salvage of the merchant vessel MV SSL Kolkata, which had run aground in rough seas off the coast of Chennai. The vessel was carrying over 2,000 tonnes of fuel oil and other hazardous materials, and there was a risk of an oil spill, which could have had a significant impact on the environment and marine life.
INS Nireekshak, a specialized diving support vessel of the Indian Navy, was tasked with the salvage operation. The vessel’s crew, comprising of divers, technicians, and other support staff, worked tirelessly for over a month to successfully remove the hazardous cargo and refloat the vessel.
The salvage operation was a complex and challenging one, with adverse weather conditions and technical difficulties posing significant challenges to the crew. However, through their dedication, professionalism, and teamwork, the crew of INS Nireekshak was able to overcome these challenges and successfully complete the mission.
Speaking at the award ceremony, Admiral Karambir Singh praised the crew of INS Nireekshak for their exemplary service and commitment to duty. He said, “The salvage operation of MV SSL Kolkata was a challenging and complex mission, and the crew of INS Nireekshak demonstrated exceptional courage, dedication, and professionalism in carrying out the operation. The award of the On-The-Spot Unit Citation is a recognition of their outstanding service and a testament to the Indian Navy’s commitment to safeguarding the maritime environment.”
The award of the On-The-Spot Unit Citation is a rare and prestigious honor, which is awarded for exceptional service and valor in the face of adversity. It is a recognition of the crew’s dedication, professionalism, and teamwork, and serves as a morale booster for the entire naval community.
The successful salvage operation of MV SSL Kolkata is a testimony to the Indian Navy’s capabilities in the field of search and rescue, salvage, and disaster relief. The Indian Navy has been actively involved in a range of humanitarian and disaster relief operations, both within India and abroad, and has earned a reputation as a professional and capable force.