The city-based Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) has developed a mobile app which can help fishermen as well as the Navy or the Coast Guard in the search of people or boats missing at sea. The app works out `Most Probable Search Area’ once it is fed the information about the point where the missing person or boat was `last seen’, so the rescuers can reach there in the shortest possible time. Not only people and boats, but the app can help in the search of 64 types of objects missing at sea. Chairman of National Maritime Search and Rescue (NMSAR) Board and Director General of Indian Coast Guard Rajendra Singh launched the app `SARAT’ at the NMSAR Board meeting in Delhi today, INCOIS said in a release here.
INCOIS is an autonomous agency under the Ministry of Earth Sciences. Conducting search and rescue operations at sea, which are usually needed during bad weather, is an extremely challenging task which can be compared to the proverbial `search for a needle in a haystack’, INCOIS said. The SARAT system — its web version was out last year — mainly enables the Coast Guard, the Navy and coastal police to minimise the time needed for search. The app is accessible in the languages of all coastal states, so a fisherman in any part of the country can use it. “Users can select a specific point where the person or object was last seen using the app’s interactive map or they can select a nearby coastal location, approximate distance travelled and bearing angle, so that the `last seen’ point is calculated.
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“The Most Probable Search Area is then generated and relayed in map form as well as a text message,” INCOIS release said. The rescuers can feed their own GPS location to the app, and it will map out the closest route to the Search Area. The app is expected to be compatible with over 90 per cent of Android handsets in use. “The accuracy of SARAT is validated using networks of drifting buoys and other instruments. The SARAT system proved its mettle earlier by successfully assisting with recovery of the Indian Coast Guard’s missing Dornier aircraft off Chennai in 2015,” INCOIS said. “The system can predict the most probable search area for up to five days,” the release said.