Guarding our coast is their task

Coast Guard’s impressive show of strength on a Sunday trip.

Chennai: “Increasing and enhancing the naval and air fleet and assistance infrastructure like radars along the coast for identifying suspicious vessels and exclusive berths for CG ships along Indian ports is the primary agenda of Indian Coast Guard in the near future,” said Coast Guard region (east) Regional Commander Satya Prakash Sharma, onboard the flagship Sagar.

He was addressing mediapersons on the sidelines of the ‘Day at Sea’ programme organised by Coast Guard (east), where the public and media were taken aboard 10 of their ships to demonstrate operational capabilities of the Coast Guard as part of their ongoing anniversary celebrations.

“We have already ordered for more than 100 ships and aircraft to be added to our existing fleet of 58 ships, 56 boats, 14 air cushion vehicles (ACVs) and 63 aircraft. We are looking at possessing 200 ships and 100 aircraft in the forthcoming period,” said Sharma.

The Coast Guard and naval ships already enjoy the privilege of confirmed berth at ports as per government directive. In addition, ports like Kakinada, Krishnapatnam, Karaikal, Katupalli, Visakhapatnam have also offered to allocate dedicated berths to the Coast Guard, which is commendable, said the commander.

Steering clear of a flurry of questions from the media on the fishermen issue, the regional commander played it safe by either offering no comments or passing up the questions saying it was a diplomatic issue. We care for our fishermen and are assisting them in all possible ways, he said. However, he was quick to point out that the recent arrest of American ship MV Seaman Guard Ohio, which was found to be in possession of arms, shows their vigilance.

According to a release, 59 boats with 308 Sri Lankan crew were apprehended and 193 lives were saved in search and rescue missions along the eastern coast. Since January 2013 till date, Coast Guard (east) has repatriated 22 Lankan boats with 105 fishermen from India in exhange for 38 boats with 391 Indians.

A community interaction programme is already in place, where our personnel, in association with M.S. Swa­m­i­nathan Research Foun­dation address fishermen issues and create awareness among the community, the senior official pointed out.

Next: Array of nautical, aerial skills

Array of nautical, aerial skills

Chennai: The ‘Chetak’ helicopters of the Coast Guard were hovering above the cerulean blue Bay of Bengal displaying an array of skills to the public, who were taken a good 20 nautical miles into the sea.

The demonstration of their ability to pick up a survivor at sea within seconds to transferring mail between ships and highly skilled manoeuvres kept the public spellbound, while the lensmen clicked away to capture the coming together of natural and human brilliance.

Ten ships of the Coast Guard, including their flagship Sagar, Sarang, Samudra Parhedar and Vishwast, carried the general public into the sea for a show of their armament display and firing, which remained the main event throughout the entire activity.

The fire fighting exercise, hovercraft swerving past, aircraft flying in tandem and a steam past by the ships were a complete package exhibited by Coast Guard (east).

While the crew had a tough time preventing the public and mediapersons from going to dangerous spots onboard to capture a view of the activities, the public enjoyed every bit of the experience, posing for pictures which would become part of memorabilia. Tired out by all the excitement, the visitors caught forty winks on the return journey from mid-sea to Chennai port.

( Source : dc )
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