2L fishing boats without tracking device : The Tribune India


Tribune News Service

Ajay Banerjee

New Delhi, November 26

Years after the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, India is still struggling to install surveillance devices on its 2.22 lakh fishing boats.

14 years have passed since 26/11, no lessons have been learned

  • In the absence of an Automated Identification System (AIS) transponder, a vessel less than 20 meters in length cannot be identified as friendly or hostile.
  • As 2.2 lakh boats do not have AIS tracking devices, they cannot be detected by the 46 coastal radars and 74 AIS receivers installed after 26/11.

“It’s still a work in progress,” Navy sources said, adding, “It’s the unfinished business of the coastal security plan that was approved after 26/11.”

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The National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security (NCSMCS), headed by the Cabinet Secretary, has drawn up a detailed plan after the 26/11 attacks.

No small boat less than 20 meters in length can be identified as friendly or hostile without a tracking device called an Automated Identification System (AIS) transponder. As 2.2 lakh boats do not have AIS tracking devices, they cannot be picked up by the 46 coastal radars and 74 AIS receivers installed after 26/11.

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Fishing boats less than 20 meters in length do not necessarily need to install AIS transponders. These boats form the bulk of the vessels for the fishing communities that line the country’s 7,500 km coastline.

AIS is mandatory for vessels over 20 meters. The AIS transponder constantly emits a signal unique to the boat and is picked up by ground-based radars and AIS receivers. The signal shows the boat, its owner, registration, etc. determines.

An AIS transponder costs Rs 20,000 which not all fishermen can afford.

The Indian Space Research Organization has developed a space-based transponder that can transmit signals from boats to shore and transmit reports of disasters such as cyclones.

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Tests were conducted on tracking ships below 20 meters. The tracking devices were first installed on small patrol boats in Mumbai, followed by trials on fishing vessels. both were successful. Another pilot project was carried out on a small number of fishing vessels off the coast of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.

Sources said fishermen fear that their activities will be recorded when they get the device. Also, fishing is a state subject.



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