On Wednesday and Thursday, the 29th and 30th of May 2019 the «Search and Rescue (SAR) Operations» Phases of the Multinational Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) Exercise «ARGONAUT-2019» were successfully executed within the Search and Rescue Region (SRR) of the Republic of Cyprus, which coincides with the FIR Nicosia.
The night SAR exercise scenario dealt with severe Air accident of a Civilian Passenger Aircraft at open sea during the transportation of civilians from a State in crisis in the Middle East to Larnaca International Airport, while the day SAR exercise scenario dealt with a severe naval accident of a passenger ship at open sea, also during the transportation of civilians from a State in crisis in the Middle East to a port of Republic of Cyprus.
Twenty-one (21) Naval SAR Units and seven (7) Air Units, as well as personnel participated during the SAR Phases, from a total of seven (7) countries. In particular, Greece participated with HS-ELLI, 1 C-130, the 31 SAROS SAR Squadron, France with Frigate “GUAPRETTE”, Israel with INS HETZ and 4 Fast Patrol Boats, the UK with HMS “DUNCAN” and 2 helicopters, the USA with USNS “YUMA” and 1 P-8 fixed-wing aircraft and Germany with 1 P-3 fixed-wing aircraft. The Republic of Cyprus, as the Host Nation, participated with helicopters of the 460SAR Squadron, OPV ”IOANNIDES”, GSS ”ALASSIA”, Fast Patrol Boats “GEORGIOU”, “TSOMAKIS” and “AMMOCHOSTOS”, as well as with the Underwater Demolition Team. Cyprus Police participated with helicopters of Cyprus Police Aviation Unit and the Fast Patrol Boat ”THISEAS” of the Port & Marine Police. Also, a fixed-wing aircraft of the Forestry Department, specialized registered nurses of the State Health Services as well as Lifeguards of the District Administrations participated in the scenarios. Finally, the support ship NIOVI participated on behalf of EDT Offshore Company.
The coordination of the SAR operations as well as of the Crisis Management was carried out from the “Zenon Coordination Centre”, at which the «Crisis Management Coordinating Team» was summoned. The Coordinating Team consisted by representatives of all the involved State Services of the Republic of Cyprus, is responsible for dealing with SAR incidents that require Massive Rescue Operations of civilians transported from a war zone. The JRCC Larnaca, the involved agencies of the Republic and the aeronautical means and personnel of the participating friendly states, have shown their high level of preparedness to deal with any emergency situation in the Republic of Cyprus Search and Rescue Region and also in the Eastern Mediterranean in general.