India wants international shipping channel shifted
Kochi: With no major piracy reported off Gulf of Eden in the last two years, India wants the international merchant shipping channel now running close to its coast being shifted out to the former, said Vice Admiral Anurag G. Thapliyal, director general of the Indian Coast Guard, here, on Tuesday.
Addressing the media on board of ICGS Samrat after the launch of the three-day long joint exercise of the Coast Guards of India and Japan, Adm Thapliyal said that the close running shipping channel was a hazard for fishing operations. With risk of piracy being reduced or minimized, it was high time the shipping route off Gulf of Eden be restored, he said.
“We have already taken up the matter with India Maritime Organisation. But this may take some more time as other issues like continued security for merchant ships and reduction of insurance premium for ships are involved,” the admiral said.
The admiral suggested that the merchant ships go for own security by employing trained guards on board ships so that the burden on national security agencies reduced.
The Somalian pirates who started attacking ships and kidnapping sailors for ransom off the Gulf of Eden in 2008 had been neutralized with Coast Guards of 18 Asian countries joining hands for anti-piracy operations. Many of the pirates were apprehended and others were forced to move out.
“Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting (HACGAM) is now a permanent body and this has helped capacity building of coastal states,” Adm Thapliyal said.
Admiral Yuji Sato, Commandant of Japan Coast Guard said that the biggest challenge he faced was the security threat following dispute with China. “We want to solve the dispute in calm manner as per the international law,” he said.