CHENNAI: The Indian Coast Guard is planning to strengthen its presence in the eastern seaboard by adding more patrol and interceptor vessels. Rajan Bargotra, Inspector General, Coast Guard Region (East), said that Chennai would get offshore patrol vessel Shouria very soon. He was talking to reporters at the commissioning of two interceptor boats – ICGS C-431& C-432- at Chennai port on Thursday.
“The Coast Guard is going to increase the number of ships and patrol boats. The number of ships went from 61 in 2009 to 129 in 2017. This will be increased to 150 by the end of next year.”
Bargotra said the stress was being given to the eastern coast also. Though threat is usually on the west, sea offers flexibility to transport threat, he added.
The Coast Guard aims at having 200 ships and 100 aircraft by 2020.
“It will be decided later how many of these will be deployed in the eastern region,” he said.
The strengthening of the Coast Guard presence is important for energy needs, exploitation of living and non-living resources in the ocean.
Seventy six ships are under construction.
The ships would also be used for anti-smuggling activities, fisheries protection, search and rescue and evacuation, he added. Officers Training Academy commandant Lt General Rajan Ravindran, who commissioned the two interceptor boats, said the Coast Guard has growing since the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
“It has a plethora of duties. It has to protect offshore oil rigs, marine eco system, pollution control, scientific data collection, protecting islands. In all, it has to protect around 1,000 islands. This is in addition to policing the Straits of Malacca.”
The two interceptor boats manufactured by L&T are the 31st and the 32nd of the total order of 54 ships from the Coast Guard.
The boats which were commissioned will be manned by 12 personnel including the commander and has maximum speed of 45knots. They can be out at sea for 20hours at a stretch. The boats have an overall length of 27.42 metres, displacement of 104 tons and are equipped with twin diesel engines with twin water jet propulsion and have an endurance of 500nautical miles at 20knots speed. The boats have state-of-the-art communication system, navigational equipment and 12.7mm HMG (Prahari) gun onboard.
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