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Published on : Thursday, November 14, 2013
The Union Minister of shipping Shri G.K. Vasan said that his ministry is taking further steps to provide the state of the art aids to facilitate navigation and to set up a most formidable surveillance network for identifying unfriendly vessels. He was speaking after laying the foundation of the Parangipettai Navtex Transmitting Station at a function in Chennai this morning.
The Minister said that as part of our obligations under the Safety of Life at Sea Convention, his Ministry has asked its technical arm of the Directorate General of Lighthouses & Lightships (DGLL) to provide for continuous Navigational Telex (Navtex) coverage of Indian waters. DGLL has made a meticulous plan in covering the entire Indian Coastline including islands by establishing seven (7) transmitting stations where safety, weather, and search and rescue related broadcast will be made up to 250 Nautical Miles. The scheme is conceived at a cost of about Rs 20 crore and is likely to be operational by the end of next year (2014). Two of these transmitting stations are being established in Tamilnadu – one at Parangipettai and the other at Muttam Point. Shri Vasan said that as the lighthouses are evenly spread along the Indian Coastline and due to their even geographical distribution; they have been identified for establishing our country’s surveillance network. Lighthouses form a critical component of our coastal security. Keeping this in view, the DGLL has set up a state of the art National Automatic Identification System (AIS) Network which track vessels upto 25 NM from our coast.
He pointed out that another recent initiative was the establishment of the Vessel Traffic System in the Gulf of Kachchh at a cost of about Rs.182 crore. The VTS extends over a coastal area of 800 KM at 22 sites, catering to the needs of all the ports of the Gulf of Kachchh. This is one of the largest systems in the world presently catering to the requirements of six (6) ports with capability of extension to ten (10) other ports.
Shri Vasan said that a pilot project to identify suitable transponders for fishing vessels is also in progress. This is intended to caution other vessels plying close to the coastline against possible collisions. After successful trials, the project would be extended all over the country to provide navigational safety for fishing vessels.