Exercise Sea Defenders - 2024

News Excerpt:

The comprehensive maritime security exercise ‘Sea Defenders-2024’ between the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) & United States Coast Guard (USCG) recently culminated at Port Blair.

Objective of the exercise:

  • The two-day Sea Defenders-2024 exercise will focus on maritime piracy and asymmetric threats, including simulated drone attacks on commercial merchant traffic, joint maritime search and rescue operations, major firefighting, marine pollution response, and counter-drug interdiction exercises. 
  • The event will also witness a simulated medical evacuation to enhance readiness in emergencies.

Key highlights of the exercise:

  • The Exercise included a variety of scenarios, including a Pollution Response Demonstration, in which Indian Coast Guard ships and aircraft showcased their expertise in responding to oil spills and other environmental hazards at sea. 
  • It also simulated Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) Operations for inspecting vessels suspected of illegal activity.
  • During the exercise, the Indian Coast Guard helicopter and Dornier aircraft conducted Search & Rescue and Pollution Response demonstrations, showcasing ICG's ability to undertake aerial surveillance and rescue missions. 
  • The exercise also included practice to neutralize asymmetric threats akin to drone attacks on commercial merchant traffic. 
  • The exercise also provided a platform for both USCG and ICG personnel to hone their firefighting and damage control skills through a simulated scenario, where DCFF teams showcased capabilities to combat shipboard emergencies.


  • These joint exercises provide valuable training opportunities for both coastguards, allowing them to refine their skills and improve their ability to work together in a coordinated manner. 
  • The USCGC Bertholf's visit to Port Blair serves as a powerful symbol of the growing partnership between the US and Indian Coast Guard. 
  • Both nations are working toward a safer and more secure maritime environment through collaborative efforts.

USCGC Bertholf:

  • The Legend-class USCGC Bertholf is equipped with advanced technology and weaponry, including a helicopter landing pad, state-of-the-art sensors, and communication equipment. 
  • The ship serves the operational function for complex law enforcement, defence, and national security missions.

Visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) Operation:

  • VBSS teams generally regulate and combat terrorism, piracy, and smuggling operations.
  • The United States Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard all employ visit, board, search, and seizure teams as part of their overall mission.
  • The objective of these teams is to combat terrorism, piracy, and smuggling activities.
  • As a result, these teams have assignments capturing enemy vessels as well as conducting customs and safety inspections.

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