Surat Marine police have been struggling to patrol territorial waters under their jurisdiction with only one of the two boats allocated to them being operational. In view of the heightened tension between India and Pakistan and terror threat, they have sought help from sea farmers for tip-off on any unusual event on the high seas.
The Surat marine police have jurisdiction over territorial waters and coastal area from Aliyah Bet in Bharuch to Dhorai Bander in Valsad district, also covering Surat and Navsari. They have sent a proposal to the in-charge DGP for permission to hire two more boats for sea patrol.
DCP (Zone 4) M S Bhabhor said, “At least eight members — one driver, three local marine police men and four marine commandos — are doing patrolling on a single boat. We have also erected check posts at different locations on the coastal areas where marine commandos and SRP jawans and local marine policemen have been deployed. We have also carried out a security meeting headed by police commissioner Ashish Bhatia. We have intimated sea farmers to give us inputs if they come across any suspected boat or suspected movement deep into the sea.”
The Surat marine police have a strength of 12 policemen, including one inspector, face shortage of boats to patrol deep into the sea. The state government had also allotted 20 marine commandos and 20 SRP personnel to the Surat marine police.
Two boats were allotted to the marine police, but gear boxes of both had mechanical fault and they were sent to Mumbai for repair. Only one has returned, so far.
The area, especially Hazira, has vital locations with units of many multinational companies established along the shore. These companies have their own boats and security staffers.
Marine police sources said that they can only go up to 5 nautical miles deep into the sea, and remaining jurisdiction over the remaining waters has been distributed between the Coast Guard and Indian Navy.