Doungel Inpi, GHQ
On the eve of 72nd Independence Day, a brave son of Manipur, Commandant Ngamlien Touthang, Commanding Officer of lndian Coast Guard Ship Rajkiran based at Haldia was conferred with two highly coveted national level awards – ‘Bravery award and Gallantry award’. The first one ‘Bravery Award’ is given by ABP News under the aegis of the irannual event ‘Jhanda Uncha Rahe Hamara’at a high profile event held at The Lalit Hotel, New Delhi on 13thAugust, 2018. The award comprising of a memento and cash prize of Rs. one lakh was jointly handed over to the Commandant by Union Telecom Minister, Manoj Sinha and Bollywood super star Akshay Kumar in the company of actress Mouni Roy. It was a moment of pride for the people of Manipur when Akshay Kumar saluted Commandant Ngamlien from the dais just before handing over the award and the entire hall was thundered with applause by the audience. While expressing his gratitude for the honour, Commandant Ngamlien highlighted that two-third of the earth is covered with sea and more than 80 per cent of international trade cargo is transported through sea route thereby making sea as the most important lifeline of any country, however, life at sea is always associated with danger. He dedicated his award to all those people engaged in providing search and rescue service to the maritime world.
The second honour conferred to Commandant Touthang is Tatrakshak Medal (Gallantry)announced by Ministry of Defence on Independence Day. Commandant Touthang is among five gallantry award winners chosen from entire lndian Coast Guard. Both the awards were given in recognition of his heroic act in rescuing 22 crew from a burning merchant vessel SSL Kolkata on 14thJune, 2018 in Bay of Bengal at about 90nautical miles from Haldia.
Being Commanding Officer of ICGS Rajkiran, the officer was tasked for urgent rescue of 22 crew of MVSSL Kolkata reportedly on major fire in Sand heads area at 2330 hrs on 13th June,2018. He immediately recalled hisship’s company and sailed from Haldia at O115 hours on 14th June,2018 with one main engine non-operational and gyro compass not settling amidst fast receding tide. Due to prevailing South West monsoon and development of low pressure in North East Bay of Bengal, sea state was 4, with wave height 2-3 meters and wind speed 25-30 knots was encountered. He motivated his team to stand up for the noble and humanitarian mission and they endured ahead towards the last position provided by CG Dornier. The ship arrived at the position of the distressed vessel at 0945 hrs and observed mid-portion of the container vessel on fire with intermittent explosions and dense smoke. Undeterred by all these odds, the officer bravely and skillfully carried out various challenging manoeuvring employed innovative techniques to remain close on the leeward side of the distressed vessel to pass the gunline to the crew abandoned in life raft. After undertaking various hair raising and daring manoeuvres for five hours amidst bad weather, engulfing flames, dense smokes and explosions, the officer and his men finally picked up all 22 crew safely.
Besides this operation, the officer has always been at the forefront of other successful rescue operations undertaken by the ship. While he was Executive Officer of ICGS Rajkiran, the officer played key role in another successful rescue operation on 5th June, 2017 wherein six drowning fishermen clinging onto a partially sunken boat amidst inclement weather were timely located and safely rescued by the ship off Odisha Coast. Thus, in two major and daring SAR operations amidst adverse weather conditions, the Officer contributed immensely in rescuing 28 precious lives at sea.
Commandant Ngamlien Touthang hails from Molkon Village, Kangpokpi District and is the seventh son of late Lunkholet Touthang. He joined the lndian Coast Guard in 2006 as Assistant Commandant in General Duty branch. This is the second command appointment held by the officer and was earlier honoured with DGCG Commendation. The commandant is married with Mrs Boinu Touthang hailing from Bijang, Churachandpur andhas three lovely sons.