KALININGRAD, August 16 (Itar-Tass) — The international search and salvage exercise in the southern section of the Baltic Sea, involving Russia, Poland and Lithuania, ended on Thursday.
“The tasks set to its participants were performed in full. Smooth coordination was reached between sea rescuers, coordinating centers and forces of three countries from the Baltic Sea region,” the head of the Kaliningrad-based sea rescue center, Vitaly Tsykhotsky, said.
Seven ships, boats and tugboats as well as aircraft had to examine the sea area of over 240 square kilometers to find the “half-submerged” Kremny passenger ship “in distress” and rescue over 60 people abandoning the ship on rafts.
The Russian side, which organized this year’s exercises, was represented by six ships and boats of the Baltic Fleet, the border service, the emergencies ministry, the customs office, and other agencies, and by an An-26 plane and a Mi-8 helicopter. Poland and Lithuania were represented by two and one ships, respectively, Tsykhotsky said earlier.
Such drills have been organized in the Baltic Sea since 2000. Over this period, such joint exercises have proved to be very useful. Thus, back in 2005, Russian, Lithuanian and Swedish rescuers saved ten people from a distressed Polish yacht in conditions of extremely bad weather.
Next year Lithuania will coordinate the international search and salvage exercise. Rescuers from the three countries will participate in an operation to liquidate an imaginary oil spill in the sea.