Force to increase number of stations to 42 by the end of the year
The Coast Guard is expected to grow incrementally to attain a force level of 150 ships and 100 aircraft by 2018, Coast Guard Director General Vice-Admiral M.P. Muralidharan has said.
“Also, the number of Coast Guard stations will be increased to 42 by the end of this year,” he said after reviewing a passing-out parade of Coast Guard officers at the force’s District Headquarters No.4 at Fort Kochi on Friday.
The accelerated induction of platforms and personnel would continue till the force attained the required manpower strength and force-levels. Presently, over a 100 platforms were under construction in various private and public sector yards of the country, he told the media later.
In the first phase of the radar chain being put in place along the mainland coast and the island territories, 46 coastal radar stations would be set up, including 10 in island territories. While the radar chain in the mainland would be in place by September, the island territories would have them by March next.
There was a problem in tracking smaller vessels, he said. Therefore, the force was trying out satellite-based and radio-frequency-based identifying equipment to see which of these was effective in monitoring smaller vessels.
The ab initio training of Coast Guard officers would remain conjoined with the Navy so as to ensure synergy between both forces. The Vice-Admiral said the force was confident of meeting all challenges and fulfilling the nation’s expectations of it. “There is enhanced patrolling, both aerial and surface, by the Navy and the Coast Guard. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) have been formulated between coastal States and security agencies and we are conducting regular security exercises to check if there are any flaws [in the system] and whatever is found is corrected in the next exercise,” he said. Many such exercises were conducted and coordination was done at the level of chief secretary of each State. The force interacted with the fishing community and advised them on various aspects of safety and security, he said.
Earlier, speaking to the personnel on parade, the Vice-Admiral said that the role and responsibilities of the force were growing in tandem with national interests. Contemporary transnational concerns such as piracy, human trafficking, drugs and arms smuggling, and encroachment of maritime zones were on the rise, he cautioned.
A total of 33 Assistant Commandants, including women officers, passed out from the Coast Guard Training Centre at Fort Kochi on successful completion of Law and Operations course on Friday. Vice-Admiral Muralidharan awarded the ‘sword of honour’ for standing first in overall order of merit to Assistant Commandant Satish Kumar.
The 11-week Law and Operations Course for Coast Guard comprised a wide range of subjects including maritime law and enforcement, search and rescue operations, fisheries monitoring, surveillance, and prevention and control of marine pollution.
Inspector General SPS Basra, Commander, Coast Guard Region West; and Deputy Inspector General Satish Chandran, Commander, Coast Guard District Headquarters No 4; attended the parade.