by Editorial

This year to commemorate the 75th anniversary celebrations of India’s Independence and to foster patriotism amongst people, Indian Coast Guard took the initiative to hoistthe National flag at selected 100 inhabited and uninhabited islands across India. Out of these, 36 islands are on West coast while 25 islands are on east coast of the mainland. The tricolour was also unfurled simultaneously at 24 islands of Andaman & Nicobar and at 15 islands of Lakshadweep & Minicoy.

As part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, ICG has also conducted interaction programmes with fishermen, tree plantation, cyclathon, walkathon, essay competition, drawing competition, quiz competition and motor cycle rallies at various Coast Guard stations pan India to evoke the feeling of patriotism amongst the populace.Indian Coast Guard is the fourth largest Coast Guard in the World. This fine force entrusted with the duties of keeping our maritime frontier “Clean, Safe and Secure”, comprises of 157 Surface units and 66 air assets. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Indian Coast Guard has added 7new generation ships to its fleet in last one year. To its credit, the force has saved 467 lives at sea in last one year and 10210 lives since inception which translates into saving of three precious lives every two days. In addition, 339 people were saved in last one year and overall12934 personnel have been rescued till date by the service during various ‘Aid to Civil Authority’ operations viz., Assistance provided during various Floods, Cyclones and other natural calamities including the recent floods in Maharashtra and Karnataka.

One of the primary duties of the Indian Coast Guard is prevention of smuggling through maritime routes in our Area of Responsibility. The 24×7 hawk’s vigil of the Indian Coast ensured seizure of drugs and contraband worth more than Rs. 11255 Crore since inception of whichmore than Rs.4500Crore worth drugs and contrabands were seized in the last one year alone. In addition, ICG till date has also apprehended more than 13305 crew and over 1563 boats involved in illegal activities in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) with 40 foreign crew with 07 boats apprehended in last one year, thereby claiming food security and economic sovereignty of our country in the EEZ.Despite the restrictions imposed by the ‘COVID-19’ pandemic, Indian Coast Guard has maintained 365x24x7 vigil in the Exclusive Economic Zone, by deploying about 45-50 ships and 10-12 aircraft daily for surveillance. The ‘Preventive and Measured Response’ stance of operations ensured that more than 3000 fishing boats with about 24,000 fishermen were escorted to safe harbours during the passage of 04 cyclones viz.,Nivar, Burevi, Tauktae and Yaas in last one year, thus minimising the loss of lives and property at sea.

In consonance with the PM’s vision of ‘SAGAR’ – Security And Growth of All in the Region and ‘Neighbourhood First’, Indian Coast Guard created maritime history by dousing a raging fire onboard the Very Large Crude Carrier Motor Tanker New Diamond with about 2.7 Lakh Metric Tonnes of crude oil off Sri Lanka, thereby averting a major ecological disaster in the region. Further, ICG also provided Pollution Response assistance to Mauritius during the grounding of Merchant Vessel Wakashio and provided 30 Tons of Pollution Response equipment in addition to training of the Mauritius Crew. In another major assistance to Sri Lanka, ICG immediately mobilised03 ships and 01 aircraft for fire-fighting and pollution response towards major fire post explosion onboard container vessel MV X-Press Pearl off Colombo on 25th May 21. The distressed Singapore flag vessel was carrying dangerous cargo in 1486 containers. ICG ships in coordination with Sri Lanka Naval/Coast Guard ships undertook fire-fighting using external fire-fighting system braving the odds of rough weather and averted environmental disaster by mitigating Oil spill with preventive pollution control measures.In line with another major ICG Charter of Maritime Environment Protection,ICG devoted 225 ship days and 388 aircraft hours for protection and conservation of 3.49lakhs Olive Ridley turtles along the coast of Odisha and also protected various other endangered marine species. Recently, in one of the biggest seizures of endangered marine species under Wild Life Protection Act 1972, ICG seized about 1200 Kgs of Sea Cucumber at Mandapam.

ICG is continuously collaborating with littoral countries to combat transnational maritime crimes and enhance maritime safety in its area of responsibility as well as in the Indian Ocean Region. The service is also working in close coordination with Central and State agencies to put in place a robust Coastal Security mechanism. Indian Coast Guard is maintaining an effective surveillance in EEZ by deploying of assets 24×7. In addition, continuous close coast surveillance is being maintained through Coastal Surveillance Network consisting of Radars, Electro-optic sensors etc. set up at 46 sites along the coast. To ensure near gap free surveillance of the entire coastline, additional 38RADAR Stations, 04 Mobile Surveillance System and 13 sites of Gulf of Kutch and Khambat are being setup and integrated in Phase-II.ICG’s relentless efforts towards fleet augmentation has led to contract for supply of 16 Advanced Light Helicopters (Mk-III version), which was signed with M/s HAL, Bangalore. These helicopters are capable of surveillance, interdiction, SAR and Pollution Response missions and are fitted with state-of-the-art equipment for effectively executing the maritime roles. ICG has accepted the first four Helicopters from HAL till date and two Helicopters each have been based at the strategically located air squadrons at Porbandar and Bhubaneswar. Recognising the need to strengthen the Maritime SAR mechanism under the aegis of ICG, GoI/MoD has accorded Approval-in-Principle(AIP) for setting-up of 29 Maritime Rescue Sub Centers (MRSCs) which will enhance the monitoring and coordination of incidents at sea in Indian Search and Rescue Region (ISRR) and augment our capabilities towards provision of a robust SAR system in line with IMO and International SAR convention.


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