Tight security at VOR Village for yachts

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Kochi, Nov 29 (UNI) A tight security cordon has been thrown around the Volvo Ocean Race Village at Willingdon Island here as the first of the eight racing yachts - Ericcson 4 - is expected to land for the India Stopover post midnight.

Mr N Ramachandran, Chairman, Cochin Port Trust, told UNI this evening that a strong security regiment had been mounted around the race village. Measures include close circuit TVs in and around the race village and two speed boats specially acquired from the US by the CPT to keep a close watch on the waterfront.

Besides, the assistance of the Indian Navy and Coast Guard has been secured, Mr Ramachandran said.

Asked if any additional measures were being taken in light of the terror drama played out in Mumbai over the past three days, Mr Ramachandran said ''we have already mounted a strong security cover for the Volvo Ocean Race Stopover and do not anticipate any trouble.'' Meanwhile, the Ericcson 4 team, led by Torben Grael, was a mere 30 nautical miles away from Kochi, reports said lack of winds had slowed down the team, which was expected to land at Kochi post midnight.

Ericcson 4 had led the first leg also from Alicante to Cape Townn.

The other seven teams are Puma, Ericcson 3, Telefonica Blue, Green Dragon, Delta Llyod, Team Russia and Telefonica Black.

The Volvo Ocean Race, described as the ultimate mix of sports, glamour and business, is stopping over in India for the first time, and Kochi is the only halt.

The eight yachts, manned by professional racing crews, are to stop over in Kochi till December 13, when they would be flagged off on the third leg to Singapore.

The Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 would be the 10th running of this ocean marathon. Spanning some 37,000 nautical miles, stopping at eleven ports and taking nine months to complete, the Volvo Ocean Race is the world's premier yacht race for professional racing crews.

UNI ARC DS RAR RN2134

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