MOSCOW, May 22. /TASS/. The Russian Northern Fleet’s search and rescue squads are wrapping up their preparations for the ‘Barents’ annual joint drills with their Norwegian counterparties that will take place in the Barents Sea late in May, Fleet Spokesman Captain First Rank Vadim Serga said on Wednesday.
"The basic aim of the drills is to practice joint operations in searching for and rescuing people in distress at sea, preventing the contamination of the sea with petroleum products amid intensive industrial development of the Arctic," the spokesman specified.
The Russian Northern Fleet will be represented in the drills by the rescue tug Altai, the Il-38 anti-submarine warfare plane capable of performing search and rescue assignments and a Ka-27PS helicopter, the officer said.
The ‘Barents’ are the sole search and rescue drills conducted by Russia and Norway in the Arctic annually. They are held in compliance with the international agreement of October 4, 1995 on cooperation in searching for people missing or in distress in the Barents Sea. Each of the sides exercises command of the drills alternately.
In 2018, the general command of the drills was exercised by the Norwegian side.