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Andhra gets interceptor boat for marine policing

Marine policing along the Andhra Pradesh coast got a shot in the arm with the introduction of a high-speed interceptor boat....

Written by Sreenivas Janyala | Hyderabad |
May 28, 2009 2:39:04 am

Marine policing along the Andhra Pradesh coast got a shot in the arm with the introduction of a high-speed interceptor boat at the Rushikonda Marine Police Station in Visakhapatnam. The sleek five-tonner costing Rs one crore and capable of doing 35 knots is the first speed boat to be sanctioned by the Centre for marine policing after the Mumbai terror attack.

Vizag City Police Commissioner Sambasiva Rao said that the boat has a range of 5 km offshore and can carry 10 armed personnel besides four crew members. More boats would be sanctioned for the other six functional marine police stations at Srikakulam,Kakinada,Guntur,Krishna and Nellore. The state Government plans to set up 15 more marine police stations in the nine coastal districts,including two more in Vizag.

With a 970-km-long coastline with more than 500 coastal villages — many of them having harbours or fish-landing points — marine policing on the Andhra coast leaves a lot to be desired. The marine police stations did not have any speed boats and depended on slow boats,which were normally hired,to patrol the waters. Coastal policing was mostly left to the Coast Guard and Navy which operate in the high seas leaving the waters closer to the shore unguarded.

“This is a speed boat which will greatly enhance our capability to patrol and monitor the shores. Now we can coordinate with the Coast Guard and Navy which will patrol the high seas while we take care of security in the shallow waters. Special crews are needed to operate this boat and monitor marine activity. Right now,we have recruited ex-Navy personnel on contract basis. We will either regularise them later or we may raise an entirely separate cadre for marine policing,” Sambasiva Rao said. The new recruits are being sent to Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers,Kolkata,which built the boat,for training. The boat would start operations in a few days.

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Besides the terror threat from the sea,Andhra Pradesh also faces the issue of fishermen from neighbouring countries violating the international marine boundary. “Smuggling is another major issue,” says Rao.

Besides the existing Marine Police Station at Rushikonda,another one has been proposed at the Vizag fishing harbour. Officials say it is one of the most vulnerable points on the coast with more than 800 trawlers and boats using it daily,often without licenses,IDs or registration papers.

As part of the Coastal Security Scheme of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs,15 new coastal police stations would also come up at Nellore,Prakasam,East Godavari,Guntur,Krishna,Srikakulam and Vizianagaram. These would be among the 68 that are being established in all the coastal states.

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First published on: 28-05-2009 at 02:39:04 am

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