Security has been tightened in the high seas following intelligence reports that Pakistan-based terror groups may target some oil wells and Single Point Mooring (SPM) facilities where ships offload crude oil for transportation to the mainland through pipes.

Central security agencies have asked the Navy and the Coast Guard to increase patrolling in the seas and pursue any suspicious or unidentified ship or vessel moving in Indian waters, official sources said.

The moves comes in the wake of reports of central security agencies as well as Western intelligence that Pakistan-based terror outfits especially Lashker-e-Taiba may try and target oil wells located in the high seas and may also try and hit the SPMs, mini ports located 70 to 80 nautical miles (130 to 150 km) in deep seas.

It was found that the country has dozens of such unattended SPMs where ships carrying crude oil offload it and it is sent to mainland using pipes or smaller ships.

The concerned authorities have been now asked to carry out a proper listing of SPMs and hand over the list to Coast Guards so that security is provided to them. Each SPM is built at an estimated cost of Rs 600-700 crore in all those areas where ships cannot anchor at the coast because of shallow waters.

Navy and Coast Guards have, meanwhile, intensified patrolling around the oil wells located in the high seas besides asking oil companies to keep a tight vigil.

After the audacious 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, the Union government had designated the Navy as the central authority responsible for the country’s overall maritime security and it will be assisted by the Coast Guard, State marine police and central agencies.

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