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Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Indian ships, aircraft widen search for missing Malaysian aircraft to Bay of Bengal

India has widened the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft, which disappeared from the radars early on Saturday while on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people board, to the Bay of Bengal at the request of the Malaysian government.

 
India has widened the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft, which disappeared from the radars early on Saturday while on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people board, to the Bay of Bengal at the request of the Malaysian government.
 
An official press release said here today that the Malaysian authorities had requested for the extension of the search to the Bay of Bengal in area of about 9000 sq km (15 km x 600 km).
 
"This area is approximately 900 km due west of Port Blair. Search in this area would be undertaken by the resources of Eastern Naval Command," it said.
 
Earlier, the Government had deployed assets of the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and Indian Air Force in a coordinated search of the area in South Andaman Sea for the missing airliner, which also had five Indians and a Canadian of Indian origin among its passengers.
 
Indian Navy has been nominated as the lead service for the coordination of the operation. The joint effort is being coordinated from Maritime Operations Centre of the Indian Navy in New Delhi.
 
The release said specific areas had been allocated by the Malaysian authorities for search by Indian ships and aircraft. Presently, two ships of Indian Navy, INS Saryu and INS Kumbhir, are combing the designated areas in South Andaman Sea.
Hunt for missing jet spreads to Indian Ocean
 
INS Kesari has replaced INS Kumbhir at around 1500h today for the search as it is also carrying an integral helicopter.  In addition, two Coast Guard vessels are also carrying out search along the coastline. Two Dornier aircraft of Indian Navy and Coast Guard are also carrying out aerial search in the vicinity of the Andaman coastline.
 
The Joint Operations Room at Port Blair has been activated to monitor the progress of the search operations. The Commander-in-Chief Andaman and Nicobar Command has been nominated as the Overall Force Commander of the Indian Forces.
 
 
The Boeing B777-200 ER aircraft, operating flight MH370, was reported missing off the Vietnamese coast around 0240 hours Malaysian time on Saturday. 
 
The plane had departed from Kuala Lumpur at 1241 Saturday morning and was scheduled to land at Beijing International Airport at 6.30 am local Beijing time on the same day.
 
Over the past five days, a lot of information has been thrown up, but most of them have turned out to be false leads and a massive search operation, involving ships and aircraft from several countries, has not found any trace of the missing aircraft. India is the latest country to have joined the search efforts in its territorial waters.
 
Malaysian police have said they are looking at all kinds of possibilities, including terrorism, hijacking, sabotage, mechanical failure and passengers or crew members with personal or psychological problems.
 
The airline has deployed teams of caregivers in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, consisting of its trained staff and volunteers from NGOs to take care of families of the passengers and crew of the aircraft.
 
Over the past four days, the search and rescue teams have expanded the scope of their operations beyond the flight path to the West Peninsula of Malaysia at the Straits of Malacca. 
 
"The authorities are looking at a possibility of an attempt made by MH370 to turn back to Subang. All angles are being looked at. We are not ruling out any possibilities," the airline had said in a statement on Tuesday.
 
The last known position of MH370 before it disappeared off the radar was 065515 North (longitude) and 1033443 East (latitude).
 
The search and rescue mission has been joined by teams from countries such as Australia, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines, the United States of America and now India.
 
Apart from the search in the sea, search on land in between these areas is also being conducted.
 
The airline said the aircraft, was carrying a total of 239 people, comprising 227 passengers (including two infants) and 12 members of crew. 
 
According to the manifest, the Indians on the flight were identified as: Mr Vinod Kolekar, 59; Ms Chetana Kolekar, 55; Mr Swanand Kolekar, 23; Ms Chandrika Sharma, 51; and Mr Kranti Shirsath, 44. The list also includes a Canadian of Indian origin, Mr Muktesh Mukherjee, 42.
 
The passengers are of 14 different nationalities. All crew on board are Malaysians.
 
The passengers include 153 from China/Taiwan (including one infant), 38 from Malaysia, 5 Indians, 7 Indonesians, 6 Australians, four from France, three (including an infant) from the United States, two each from Ukraine, Canada and New Zealand, and one each from Russia, Italy, the Netherlands and Austria.
 
The flight was piloted by Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a Malaysian aged 53 with total flying hours of 18,365hours. He joined Malaysia Airlines in 1981. First officer, Fariq Ab.Hamid, a Malaysian, 27, has total flying hours of 2,763 hours. He joined Malaysia Airlines in 2007.
 
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The families of passengers may contact +603 7884 1234 (Kuala Lumpur) / +8610 6437 6249 (Beijing), the airline said.
 
Among the latest theories is one that suggests that the aircraft could have been deliberately flown across the Malay peninsula towards the Andaman Islands by someone with aviation training, hundreds of km from its intended flight path.
 
Malaysia Airlines did not give out any new information today, except to say that it would continue to cooperate with the search and rescue mission being coordinated by the Department of Civil Aviation under the Ministry of Transport.
 
"Malaysia Airlines is fully aware of the on-going media speculations and we have nothing further to add to the information we have already provided," it said.
 
"The aircraft is still missing, and the search area is expanding," Malaysia's acting Minister of Transport Hishamuddin Hussein told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today.
 
"We are now pushing further into the South China Sea, and further into Indian Ocean," he said.
 
Mr Hussein said as many as 57 ships and 48 aircraft from 13 countries were involved in the search efforts. "Our priority remains finding the plane," he said.
 
He said investigating teams would not release any information until it had been properly verified and corroborated.
 
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Minor earthquake jolts Andaman Islands

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale, shook the Andaman Islands in the early hours of today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 11.0°N and longitude 91.9°E, occurred at 0112 hours at a focal depth of 10 km,an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Nicobar Islands region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale, shook the Nicobar Islands region in the early hours of today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 7.4°N and longitude 92.4°E, occurred at 0107 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Andaman Island region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale, shook the Andaman Island region early this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 10.6°N and longitude 94.2°E, occurred at 0252 hours at a focal depth of 45 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor earthquakes reported in Mizoram, Nicobar Islands

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Two minor earthquakes were reported in the Lunglei region of Mizoram and in the Nicobar Islands region today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake in Mizoram, which measured 4.8 on the Richter scale, had its epicentre at latitude 23.1°N and longitude 92.7°E and occurred at 1159 hours at a focal depth of 45 km.
 
Earlier, an earthquake of magnitude 4.7 occurred in the Nicobar Islands region, the bulletin said. It had its epicentre at latitude 7.2 N and longitude 92.4 and occurred at  0330 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, it added.
 
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Andaman and Nicobar Command celebrates 16th Raising Day

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The Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) celebrated its 16th Raising Day on October 8 and conducted several events spread over three days from October 7-9.
 
ANC is the only tri-service operational command of the Indian Armed Forces.
 
ANC Commander-in-Chief  Vice Admiral Bimal Verma reviewed the parade at INS Utkrosh and awarded Unit Citations to five units for their outstanding performance in the last one year.
 
In his address, the Vice Admiral congratulated all the components for the synergy displayed in operations and training, optimum utilisation of resources and achievement of desired operational efficiency.
 
He commended all ranks for flawless conduct of bilateral exercises with the littorals and jointness in operations, resulting in reduction in poaching activities, rescue of 47 civilians from the sea in the last one year, and successful conduct of Disaster Management Exercise.
 
Vice Adm. Verma also highlighted several activities in the last one year such as participation in community outreach programmes and social welfare schemes under the aegis of Defence Wives Welfare Association (DWWA), conduct of multi specialty medical camps in remote areas and Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan as part of the commitment of ANC to serve the islanders.
 
He said  several important projects of strategic significance had been approved by the Defence Ministry in the recent months. He observed that these projects, coupled with recent induction of operational assets by all the components such as MI-17V5 helicopter, Dornier aircraft, Guided Missile Corvette, IPV, Fast Interceptor Crafts and radars would further enhance the operational capabilities of the ANC in its primary role of safeguarding the territorial integrity of India.
 
He exhorted all ranks and their families to maintain high level of alertness in order to guard against inimical elements. He also emphasized upon revisiting the preparedness against natural disasters and continuing efforts towards community outreach.
The ceremony concluded with presentation of Unit Citation to five units as recognition of professional excellence in the last one year. These units are 20 Grenadiers, INS Bitra, Command Diving Unit, Coast Guard Air Enclave and 151 Squadron.
 
As part of the celebrations, the Vice Admiral also attended a “Barakhana”, a traditional meal with troops and families of all components of the ANC at Birchganj on October 7.
 
The celebrations concluded on October 9 with amphibious demonstration at Corbyn Cove beach, attended by about 650 students from local schools. Amphibious and other ships of Navy and Coast Guard, armoured troops carriers of Army and aircraft of the Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard participated in the demonstration.
 
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Minor earthquake shake Nicobar Islands region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale, shook the Nicobar Islands region late last night, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 8.0°N and longitude 94.5°E, occurred at 0034 hours today at a focal depth of 10 km.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Nicobar Islands region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale, shook the Nicobar Islands region early this morning.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 8.4 N and longitude 94.6 E, occurred at 0357 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, a bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) added.
 
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Magnitude 5.2 earthquake jolts Andaman Islands

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An earthquake of moderate intensity, measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale, shook the Andaman Islands this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 10.1°N and longitude 91.6°E, occurred at 0800 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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IndiGo adds Port Blair as its 41st destination; launches additional flights in domestic sectors

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Low-cost carrier IndiGo today said it would add Port Blair in Andaman & Nicobar Islands as its 41st overall and 36th domestic destination in its schedule from later this month.
 
A press release from the airline said new daily non-stop flights to Port Blair will be introduced from Kolkata and Chennai from September 28 and September 30, respectively.
 
Port Blair will also be connected to Delhi (via Kolkata) and Hyderabad (via Chennai), it said.
 
The airline will also launch additional frequencies with daily non-stop flights between Delhi and Kolkata, Delhi and Chennai and Hyderabad and Varanasi sectors.
 
"These new flights will further consolidate IndiGo’s position as the fastest growing airline in India, with 112 Airbus A320 aircraft - 6E will operates 846 daily flights, connecting 41 destinations with effect from 30 September 2016," the release said.
 
Mr. Aditya Ghosh, President, IndiGo said, “We are extremely pleased about adding Port Blair as our 41st destination. It is going to be an important part of our destination network, catering to the needs of both business as well as leisure travellers.
 
"In addition, IndiGo will connect holy city of Varanasi with Hyderabad with daily non-stop service. Clearly, these are exciting times for the aviation industry and for us, as we are now in the 11th year of operation. We thank our flyers for their unflinching support in these past 10 years and we will continue to provide them an on time, hassle free and affordable flying experience," he said.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Nicobar Islands region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale, shook the Nicobar Islands region late last night.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 8.9 N and longitude 94.6 E, occurred at 2350 hours yesterday at a focal depth of 10 km.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Andaman Islands

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale, shook the Andaman Islands late this evening, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 13.3 N and longitude 93.2 E, occurrd at 2103 hours at a focal depth of 30 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Moderate earthquake jolts Andaman Islands

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale, jolted the Andaman Islands tonight, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 11.5 N and longitude 91.5 E, occurred at 2133 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Remotely operated vehicle developed by NIOT maps coral reefs in Andaman & Nicobar Islands

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The National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) used the Remotely Operated Vehicle (PROVe), developed indigenously by it, to map the coral reefs in Andaman & Nicobar Islands (North Bay and Chidiyatapu) recently.
 
The exercise, conducted for the first time, proved that the ROV could be used for this purpose efficiently, an official press release said.
 
According to the release, Andaman and Nicobar Islands are hot-spots of biodiversity with their unique coral reef bio-reserve. In recent decades, they have been under constant threat due to global warming and sea level rise. 
 
Coral reef biodiversity in the Andaman region, roughly around 11,000 sq.km., was seriously affected during the 2004 tsunami, and it is also undergoing stress from the increasing sea surface temperature, it said.
 
Currently, there is no mechanism other than scuba diving to examine the corals and assess the extent of damage or rejuvenation that might be taking place since the great damages happened earlier, it said.
 
The release said the ROV could effectively map 4-6 sq. km. of coral reefs in a day, whereas the same job takes about a week for a scuba diver. The images of corals recorded by the ROV are useful to study the biodiversity of coral reefs and their evolution. 
 
The underwater visuals have shown the coral debris and boulders caused by the 2004 tsunami, at the same time, also captured some locations where the rejuvenation of the colonies of branching corals, stony coral, brain corals was observed. The water temperature ranged between 31 degrees C at surface and 30.5 degrees C at 1 m water depth. It further decreases in deeper waters as recorded by the ROV based sensor.
 
The radiometer attached on the ROV provided the spectral signatures of different types of corals in Andaman. The spectral signatures of the corals are valuable in developing algorithms to map the coral reefs using sensing techniques, especially the satellite remote sensing. 
 
The release said the good news was that there was no evidence of coral bleaching at Andaman reef during the mapping period in April 2016 but it will require constant monitoring to know what would happen when the temperature rose further.
 
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Moderate earthquake jolts Andaman Islands region

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An earthquake of moderate intensity, measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, jolted the Andaman Islands region in the early hours of today.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 10.3 N and longitude 93.8 E, occurred at 0202 hours at a focal depth of 10 km.
 
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Vice Adm Bimal Verma takes over as C-in-C Andaman & Nicobar Command

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Vice-Admiral Bimal Verma yesterday took over as the 13th Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman & Nicobar Command (CINCAN), succeeding Vice-Admiral Pradeep Kumar Chatterjee who retired after 39 years of service.
 
Vice Adm Verma is an alumnus of the Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) and National Defence Academy where he was adjudged the best Naval Cadet.
 
He was commissioned in the Indian Navy on January 1, 1980 and specialised in ‘Communication and Electronic Warfare’. In the course of his distinguished career, the Flag Officer has held numerous important Command, Staff and Operational appointments.
 
His noteworthy afloat appointments include commissioning crew of INS Viraat, Signal Communication Officer of INS Ganga and Fleet Communication Officer of Western Fleet. He has also been the Commanding Officer of amphibious platforms such as INS Shardul and Magar, missile destroyer INS Ranjit and guided missile destroyer INS Mysore.
 
Among his important ashore appointments, the Flag Officer has been the Principal Director Naval Operations at Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defence (Navy), Naval Attache in Tehran, Captain Local Work-up team (LWT) at Visakhapatnam, INTEG (Indian Naval Tactical Evolution Group) and has also served with the Signal Intelligence Organisation.
 
On elevation to the Flag rank, Vice Admiral Verma has held appointments as Flag Officer Doctrines & Concepts, Flag Officer Commanding Maharashtra and Gujarat Naval Area, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Information Warfare & Operations) and Flag Officer ‘Alternative Operational Base’ project.
 
On promotion to the rank of Vice Admiral on November 1, 2012, he  was appointed as the Chief of Staff, Eastern Naval Command where he also coordinated the recently concluded International Fleet Review 2016.
 
For his distinguished services, Vice Adml Bimal Verma has been awarded the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal.
 
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Minor earthquake recorded in North Andaman Sea

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale, shook the North Andaman Sea this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 13.6 N and longitude 94.0 E, occurrd at 0601 hours at a focal depthof 60 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Nicobar Islands

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale, shook the Nicobar Islands region late last night, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitutde 7.5 N and longitude 92.0 E, occurred at 2350 hours yesterday at a focal depth of 20 km, an IMD bulletin said.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Nicobar Islands

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale, shook the Nicobar Islands region this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 7.1 N and longitude 92.1 E, occurred at 0910 hours today at a focal depth of 50 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Andaman Islands

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale, shook the Andaman Islands region today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 14.4 N and longitude 93.2 E, occurred at 1530 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes South Andaman Islands

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.0 on the Richter scale, shook the South Andaman Islands region in the early hours of today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 11.9°N and longitude 92.5°E, occurred at 0055 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor earthquake recorded in Nicobar Islands region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale, shook the Nicobar Islands region this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 7.2°N and longitude  94.4°E, occurred at 0853 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor earthquake jolts Andaman Islands region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale, shook the Andaman Islands region today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 13.5°N and longitude 94.0°E, occurred at 1018 hours at a focal depth of 10 km an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Nicobar Islands

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale, shook the Nicobar Islands region last night, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 7.1°N and longitude  94.9°E, occurred at 2223 hours yesterday at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Moderate earthquakes jolt Nicobar Islands region for the second day

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An earthquake of moderate intensity, measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, shook the Nicobar Islands region this morning, the third one today after a series of nine quakes in the area between yesterday afternoon and midnight last night.
 
The latest tremor occurred at 1142 hours today at a focal depth of 10 km and had its epicentre at latitude 06.5°N and longitude 94.8°E.
 
Earlier, the area was jolted by two 4.9 quakes at 0018 hours and 0044 hours today.
 
A series of nine earthquakes of moderate intensity had jolted the same region between 1612 hours and midnight yesterday.
 
The first quake, measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale, occurred at 1612 hours at a focal depth of 35 km, and had its epicentre at latitude 07.0°N and longitude 94.6°E. The last one, measuring 4.7, occurred at 2317 hours yesterday at a focal depth of 10 km with its epicentre at latitude 06.7°N and longitude 94.7°E.
 
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