It’s a part of expansion plan to enhance surveillance in EEZ
Indian Coast Guard on Thursday rebased the ship ‘Vajra’ at Paradip port for enhancing maritime surveillance in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) adjoining to coast of Odisha and West Bengal.
The ship was received by Inspector-General K. C. Pande, Commander of Coast Guard Region (North East). The ship is commanded by Commandant S. Randhaava. The offshore patrol vessel, which is 74 metre long, is designed to achieve a maximum speed of 22 knot (nautical miles per hour) and can operate over extended ranges for prolonged duration.
The ship is fitted with 33 mm guns as main armament, heavy and light machine guns to counter threat at sea. Equipped with embarked helicopter operating capabilities, the ship is fully equipped to undertake all coast guard charter of duties which include search and rescue, marine surveillance, pollution response and overall coastal security.
The ship is based at Paradip and will operate under overall administrative and operational control of commander, Coast Guard region (north east). The rebasing of ICGS Vajra is part of Coat Guard expansion plan to enhance surveillance in the region. “There is a change in maritime security in this region for which we have set up a dedicated harbour at Paradip and Coast Guard Air Enclave at Bhubaneswar. As part of this coast guard deployment plan, we have rebased the ship here,” said Commander Pande at Paradip, about 130 km from here.
“We felt the need of deployment of a bigger ship in Odisha and West Bengal. Whenever problems like natural disasters take place or requirement of search and rescue operation arises along this coast, we have to mobilise big ships either from Visakhapatnam or Chennai. Now if same facilities are available here with rebasing of Vajra, our response time will be a lot quicker,” he said.
“From the point of view of present maritime scenario, we have to keep coastal surveillance all the time. The ship would enable carry out patrolling all 12 months off the coast. Now our total focus is on coastal and maritime security,” the senior coast guard official said.
“With rebasing of Vajra, the coastal security in this part has been strengthened. Coast Guard has some smaller vessels here, but they have their limitations. Paradip Port will also be greatly benefited by the deployment. There are port’s three single point moorings situated about 20 km off the coast. With deployment, security of these installations has also got a boost,” said Gouri Prasad Biswal, Deputy Conservator of Paradip Port Trust.