With the craft, Indian Coast Guard hopes to step up rescue work, vigil along the coast, and response to security threats

The first of the two interceptor craft with which the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) hopes to step up its rescue missions, coastal surveillance capability, and quick response to security threats has reached the ICG’s southern most unit in the State at Vizhinjam.

The state-of the-art interceptor craft, IC-308, would be commissioned after completion of the remaining works, official sources told The Hindu. Equipped with two outboard motors, the bullet-proof interceptor craft can attain a speed of 35 knots. The Coast Guard station will get the second interceptor craft within a month. Each craft will have a four-member crew.

The craft will come in handy for coastal surveillance and rescue missions, as it can be used for random patrolling from the Coast Guard station here that often goes beyond jurisdiction up to Lakshwadeep. With this, the number of vessels in the station will go up to four.

Already, the station has got a 29-metre-long high speed state-of-the art C-150 vessel.

The other vessel that is over 16 years old in the station would be phased out soon, the sources said. Named Charlie 134, the fast patrol craft, with a range of 400 miles, is equipped with weapons including heavy machineguns to intercept ships and other vessels.

The station at Vizhinjam, which now has only a crew of 30, also awaits clearance for expanding its port-related infrastructure. The Coast Guard is seeking berthing facilities for its ships and exclusive docks for interceptor craft and visiting vessels.

Already, the State has announced that Navy and Coast Guard will be provided with berthing facilities at the proposed international seaport at Vizhinjam. The Navy will be provided a 500-metre-long berth and Coast Guard, a 120 metre-long one. Allied facilities will be provided on a coast-sharing basis and this has already been communicated to the Centre.