In a first, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) started Joint Coastal Patrol (JCP) with Gujarat Marine Police from August 15, allowing police personnel onboard ICG ships for enhanced coastal security.
The move comes after the Gujarat government introduced an ordinance in the Fisheries Act 2003 allowing the state marine police officers from the rank of sub-inspector to search and seize any vessel/boat/craft/pilot vessel involved in fishing within the sea territory of Gujarat.
Now, the Gujarat Marine Police will be sea trained by the ICG personnel onboard ICG ships to equip them better for investigation related to violations of the State Fisheries Act.
“The ICG has commenced Joint Coastal Patrol along with Marine Police personnel onboard ICG ships… for enhanced coastal security. The JCP is being instituted to enable implementation of Coastal Security Scheme (CSS) through capacity building of Marine Police in the overall Coastal Security Construct. JCP would also help address the issues of communication, interoperability, attaining sea-legs and joint investigation procedures by the Marine Police,” read a statement from the ICG.
The endeavor includes class room instructions and on job training onboard ICG ships. “ICG would provide hands-on experience to Marine Police personnel on various aspects of safety, navigation, maintenance, law enforcement, surveillance and investigation at sea within territorial waters that fall under the jurisdiction of respective states. With the implementation of joint patrol, Marine Police personnel will consolidate adequate trained staff enhancing their overall operational efficiency.
The effort is aimed at developing the existing capabilities of the Marine Police towards coastal security,” it added.
As per the new ordinance in the Fisheries Act, as fine of Rs 1 lakh will be levied on owners of boats from other states venturing into the territory of Gujarat and the marine police has been given powers for search and seizure. The move is aimed at protecting the interests of fishermen community from Gujarat, preserving biodiversity and preventing kidnappings of Indian fishermen by Pakistani coastal security agencies in the international waters.
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