ICG’s coastal surveillance bid
Tension between fishing fleet and ICG.
ICG’s coastal surveillance bid gets lukewarm response from fishermen
Written by Ujjwala Nayudu
As part of its efforts to enhance maritime security and coastal surveillance network (CSN), three years ago the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) had launched installation of Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponders on the fishing trawlers of Gujarat fishermen. Of the 25,000 trawlers registered with the state fisheries department, so far only 1,000 have this facility, a senior ICG officer said on Saturday.
The AIS transponders were introduced in 2011 along with the Distress Alarm Transmission System (DATS) for the Indian trawlers under the Vessel Identification System of CSN.
However, in last three years only 1,000 boats across the state have the AIS transponders. Over 300 trawlers in Porbandar which recently witnessed the explosion of a suspicious Pakistani boat explosion have this gadget. The Indian ICG that works as a nodal agency of the Gujarat Maritime Board and Fisheries Department for this project has received lukewarm response from the state fishermen.
When contacted, Manish Lodhari, president of the Marine Fisheries Co-operative Society said, “The fishermen were being harassed by the ICG during the fitting of the AIS transponders. Even before the AIS transponder installed boats remotely reach the International Maritime Boundary (IMB), the ICG officers used to seize the documents from the fishermen resulting in cancellation of their boats’ registration. This led to the stoppage of subsidy and several benefits to them. Enraged by such kind of harassment, they refused to fit AIS transponders on their boats.”
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