Port security to be beefed up

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New Delhi, Nov 28 (UNI) A high-level meeting, chaired by Shipping Minister T R Baalu, today asked major ports to beef up security and acquire minimum two speed boats for patrolling following revelations that terrorists took the sea route to strike at the heart of Mumbai.

The ports were also asked to ensure that trucks entering their area should have vehicle tracking system in place to keep a watch on them.

The meeting, called to review the security situation in the wake of terror attacks in Mumbai, was attended by top-level representatives of the Navy, the Coast Guard, the Central Industrial Force (CISF) and the Home Ministry, besides chairmen of the ports.

It was decided that the Coast Guard would be authorised to rummage all suspicious merchant vessels prior to their entry into a port.

Similarly, Customs officials would also inspect the vessels at outer anchorage and within port limits.

The CISF was requested to deploy a marine commando unit, and raise bomb disposal squads and dog squads separately for each port.

Directions were also given to the CISF to inspect and vet all the security equipment, including the CCTVs, being used at the ports and advise changes, if required.

Mr Baalu asked the Directorate General of Shipping to undertake a special audit of port security in all the major ports to ensure compliance of all security measures.

He also asked chairpersons of all the ports to immediately send their security requisitions to the security agencies concerned, especially the CISF, to ensure that security was not compromised at any cost.

The Minister directed the DG Shipping to request the Indian Space Research Organisation to expedite its project to design and devise a low-cost boat tracking system for fishing vessels.

The maritime states were asked to take due care in registering fishing vessels as there were multiple agencies for enrolling such vessels.

UNI YJ PK VC1626

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