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NMSARB discusses measures to tackle piracy in high seas

Written by: Staff
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Mumbai, May 12 (UNI) The fifth National Maritime Search and Rescue Board (NMSARB) meeting today discussed the preventive measures required to be instituted against pirate attacks in high seas and international waters and the development of low cost emergency transmitters for search and rescue operations.

The meet, which began here today, was attended by state government representatives of costal states for the first time, besides representatives from Airports Authority of India (AAI), Shipping Corporation of India, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Customs, Department of Telecom, Mumbai Port Trust and Indian Navy.

Coast Guard (CG) Director General (DG) Prabakaran Paleri presided over the meet.

In his inaugural address, DG Paleri said that above fifty per cent of search and rescue missions (SAR) in high seas were involved in saving fisher folks. As a result, safety of small fishing boats and trawlers in high seas have become a matter of concern for Government of India and Coast Guard.

Talking about intiatives in combating pirate menace, he said that the Coast Guard was consulting with concerned ministries and departments to help reach agreements with similar law enforcement bodies around the world.

Citing a recent hijacking incident of a Koren ship by Somali pirates, Mr Paleri said ''The Somalian incident is of international ramifications and cannot be dismissed as another case of high sea piracy.'' A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was in effect with Korean Coast Guard to tackle piracy in international waters. Also, an agreement with Pakistan Maritime Force was ratified, which will come into effect soon, he added.

He cautioned the ship owners and operators to avoid unsafe corridors as trade routes causing threat to human life.

Paleri pointed out that India had a large SAR mission and was bound by international maritime convention to protect fishermen and legal trade. For that reason, a proposal would be forwarded to the Home department for creating a police force within CG for faster and effective investigation on issues related to sea violations and smuggling.

Commandant D R Sharma, Deputy Director (SAR) in his powerpoint presentation, said that SAR was vital to maritime industry for its involvement in fishing, tourism, trade and shipping related accidents. Last year, Coast Guard had succeeded in saving more than 300 ONGC personnel through its SAR mission in the Western Coast.

Similarly, ten fishermen of 'MV Fiaz', a foreign trawler, were saved from the high seas by alert SAR action, he added.

He also emphasised on the need for more sea worthy vessels and low-cost transmitters to augment fishermer with safety and efficiency.

Officer-in-Charge (OIC) N V Ramarao of Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC), Chennai explained the importance of low cost Distress Alert Transmitters (DAT), a portable manually operated instrument for fisherfolks in his presentation.

He said that ISRO had developed DAT for fisherfolks as part of their community development initiative. These instruments were under various stages of field trail and could be used by fisherfolk during fire, medical and other emergencies.

The coast guard DG also conferred the 'ICG SAR' award upon Capt Murray Falconer, Anil Jaggi and Ram Gajare of B G Exploration for rescuing ten fishermen from a sinking boat 'Dhanlakshmi' off Mumbai on January 19, 2005.

Commandant B S Loshali, Joint Director (Operations), too conferred the 'Essar SAR Award' upon Commandant Mukul Garg for his daring efforts in rescuing ten survivors of MV Fiaz in the east coast of Paradip on June 2, 2005.

UNI GVS SSS VD RS2004

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