On the eve of 75th Independence Day, President Ram Nath Kovind approved following Gallantry awards to Indian Navy personnel including Shaura Chakra. INS Kochi’s commanding officer Capt Sachin R Sequeira has been awarded with Shaura Chakra for his commendable work in search and rescue operation in the recent cyclonic storm Tauttae in North Arabian Sea. Under the leadership of Captain Sachin Sequeira , his team undertook search and rescue operations in an extremely challenging weather and sea conditions in North Arabian sea and successfully saved more than over 125 lives from the stricken Barge P 305 at the Offshore Development Area (ODA).
On 17th May , the ship was sailed with dispatch to render assistance to Barge P-305, which was sinking under the influence of the severe cyclonic storm Tauktae, off the ODA. The ship was successfully able to prepare and cast off within one hour under extremely challenging conditions of 40-45 kns winds, blinding rain and nil visibility. Displaying thorough professionalism, exemplary leadership, the officer Seqeuira guided the ship to close the stricken barge, giving the distressed crew reassurance of assistance by the Indian Navy.
Faced with extremely limited options, the officer took the bold decision of maneuvering the ship to close and recover survivors directly from the sea. This demanded utmost courage, bold action, adept ship handling and astute thinking as the drift in area was over 5 kms and swell conditions resulted in violent ship motions. The survivors were recovered onboard through various innovative ways such as use of scramble nets jumping ladders and lines. The Officer, keeping the mission of saving lives foremost, over and above the safety of his own team and the ship, led and guided his officers and ship’s company tirelessly throughout the day and night over a period of 36 hours. His courageous action, motivation and composed decision making enabled rescue of 125 personnel, including over 65 survivors recovered in dark hours, without injury or loss of life of his crew.
The successful and daring execution of the Search and Rescue Operation under unprecedented stress and extreme rough weather highlights the extraordinary leadership, professionalism and fortitude of the officer. This brave act of leadership and courage was in keeping with the ethos of the Navy and in service of the Nation in times of peril and adversity. For his extraordinary bravery, courageous leadership, exemplary grit and determination, in the face of extremely challenging conditions, the officer has been recommended for the award of Shaurya Chakra.
Nao Sena gallantry medals have been recommended for five Navy personnel. They are Captain Prashant Handu, Commander Sunil S Korti Commander Sunil S Korti, Commander Bipin Panikar, Lt Commander Raj Krishna Manu, Prahlad MCA (Flight Diver) II.