Minister of State for Defence M.M Pallam Raju on Saturday urged maritime forces not to lower their guard under any circumstance as nations that neglected seas/oceans had come to grief sooner or later.

“As resources on the land are getting depleted, nations are turning to the seas and oceans for sustenance. Towards this, the Indian Coast Guard has a very important role in safeguarding our maritime wealth,” he said after commissioning Indian Coast Guard Ship Rajtarang here on Saturday.

Mr. Raju said the economic growth witnessed by the country in the last two decades had reinforced the importance of maritime trade and commerce. The resultant growth in maritime traffic called for an efficient framework of maritime safety, disaster management and enforcement of law at sea.

He said six more inshore patrol vessels were being built at the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata, for induction into the Coast Guard. In addition to this, one off shore patrol vessel, two pollution control vessels, 32 fast patrol vessels, 11 air cushion vehicles and 56 interceptor boats were also under construction in various shipyards.

According to defence sources, the ICGS Rajtarang is a 50-metre inshore patrol vessel equipped with advanced navigational and communication sensors. With an economical speed of 16 knots, the ship has an endurance of 1,500 nautical miles.

Other features include Integrated Bridge System, Integrated Machinery Control System and an indigenously built gun mount with fire control system. Based at Chennai, the ship would be under the operational control of the Commander, Coast Guard Region (East), the sources added.

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