NEW DELHI: Indian Navy has dispatched one of its aircraft for maritime reconnaissance to assist in search and rescue operations for the 10 missing sailors of MV Emerald Star which sank near the Philippines coast on October 13. The ship was carrying 26 Indians on board and 16 Indians have been already rescued in the Pacific off Japan.
According to senior naval officials, P 8I long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft landed at the Vilamor air base in Manila and will shortly start the search operation.
Indian missions in Japan, the Philippines and China were coordinating the search operation.
"One P-8I aircraft took off at 11:45 PM yesterday for Manila to search for missing sailors of MV Emerald Star," the Navy official said.
Navy official maintained that the maritime reconnaissance aircraft is equipped with an inflatable dinghy capable of carrying 10 persons. It is also carrying emergency food and water supplies meant for airdropping to the survivors.
Official said that on Friday, the 33,205 tonne Emerald had Star sent a distress signal to the Japanese coastguard as it sailed 280 km east of northern tip of Philippines and Japanese coastguard spokesperson reportedly told that two patrol boats and two planes were immediately dispatched to the site but a typhoon had made the rescue difficult. The cargo ship had sunk while three other vessels sailing near the area rescued 15 crew members.