The Indian Coast Guard added more muscle to its coastal surveillance machinery on Friday with the commissioning of a high-speed interceptor boat at Vizhinjam near here.

Governor R.S. Gavai formally inducted the new craft at a colourful function held at the Vizhinjam harbour. Addressing the gathering, the Governor called for better co-ordination between the Navy, Coast Guard, Customs, the Marine Police, the Marine Enforcement, and the Fisheries department, to cover the loopholes in coastal security. He said the long coast line of Kerala exposed the State to threats from the sea. Mr. Gavai said the new patrol vessel would give more teeth to the Coast Guard.

The commissioning ceremony was attended by Air Vice Marshal Rajinder Singh and Inspector General SPS Basra, Commander, Coast Guard (West), among other officials. Earlier, the Governor was given a guard of honour by Coast Guard personnel. A Coast Guard airplane flew over the venue during the function.

In his address, Mr. Basra sought the support of the State government in augmenting the infrastructure of the Coast Guard in Kerala. He said the Coast Guard would require land, berthing place, accommodation and airfield for its coastal surveillance operations. Mr. Basra stressed the need to develop the required facilities on a war footing to secure the country’s maritime interests.

The newly-commissioned interceptor boat was built at the ABG Shipyard, Surat. The 26-metre long vessel is commanded by Commandant Chandra Sekhar Joshi. The vessel, to be based at Beypore, is manned by 10 personnel and one officer. It is equipped with modern navigational and communication equipment.