A crack inside the hull of the ship expanded earlier this week leading to the ship splitting into two halves.
HAL’s indigenously built Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv and Chetak helicopters will be deployed to rescue people and extricate skimmed oil from the Japanese owned cargo ship MV Wakashio, which was on its way from China to Brazil but ran aground on the reef at Pointe d’Esny, Mauritius recently.
“Time and again the indigenous Dhruv helicopter has proven its capabilities. Our helicopters were extensively utilized for search and rescue operations in the past as well,” said CMD HAL R Madhavan.
A press statement by HAL noted, “Thanks to the Indian Air Force, Indian Coast Guards and Mauritius police, HAL helicopters flew non-stop dawn to dusk till all the survivors on board were safely rescued. A total of 210 cargo operations and 270 winch operations were undertaken by HAL choppers towards salvage and rescue missions so far. The Chetak helicopters were used primarily for winching survivors. The ALHs flew continuous missions to get the international salvage team on-board the ship to contain the spill. The HAL-made helicopters have flown till now 110 hrs and rescued 600 persons from and to MV Wakasio.”
The spill happened close to two environmentally protected marine ecosystems and the Blue Bay Marine Park reserve. Some popular tourist beaches and mangrove plantations too are nearby the area of incident. Mauritius had declared a state of environmental emergency.
Dhruv is designed and developed by HAL for the military as well as civil applications. The utility version of the Dhruv helicopter can be used for VIP travel, commuter, search and rescue, emergency medical service, under slung load, disaster relief, and offshore operations. Dhruv helicopter is suitable for increased payload at higher altitudes and is in operation with all the three Service wings. More than 240 helicopters are operational with the Indian Armed Forces, clocking more than 2,70,000 flying hours.