The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has commissioned its fifth Coast Guard Station on the Puducherry-Tamil Nadu coastline at Karaikal recently. The ICG station at Karaikal will step-up the patrolling along the east coast and prevents infiltration and smuggling as well. Besides, the Indian Coast Guard has also installed a chain of static sensors along the mainland and island territories are being installed to bolster coastal surveillance and security.
The ICG Karaikal will function under the administrative and operational control of the Commander Coast Guard Region (East). This new ICG station was commissioned by Director General of ICG Vice Admiral MP Muralidhran, AVSM with other senior Coast Guard officials from the Puducherry. The new station will be controlled by the eastern region of Indian Coast Guard based in Chennai. Further, a dedicated district headquarters for the Coast Guard, full-fledged air enclave and a hover port was on the anvil in Puducherry.
ICGS Karaikal has boosted the strategic importance of the region since it already supports vital installations including offshore drills of ONGC and CPCL, fishing harbours and the private port of Karaikal. Vice Admiral Muralidharan said the coordination of various security agencies must be strengthened in the coastal security and maritime safety and coast guard is taking all measures to keep a check on the maritime activities and vessel movements in the region.
Meanwhile, Indian Coast Guard is taking significant measures to increase surveillance and security along the coastline and also augmenting force levels to meet the maritime challenges. One of the major moves is the imminent implementation of 36 radar stations on the mainland from Gujarat to West Bengal, six radar stations in Lakshadweep and four radar stations in Andaman group of islands. The installations will be put in place on the mainland by September and on island territories by March of next year.
Vice Admiral Muralidharan stated that the radars would be remotely controlled from various key stations along the coast to keep track of ships, vessels and units. He added that the coastal security scenario had changes the security dynamics due to the increase in maritime commercial traffic which necessitated a robust framework of maritime security. The framework will look into the marine environment protection, disaster management, medical emergencies, refugee repatriation alongside Search and Rescue Missions (SAR) and law enforcement at sea.
As of now, the ICG station at Karaikal is functioning from a rented premise since land acquisition for over 20 acres was under way. Hence, the private MARG Karaikal port would provide dedicated berthing facilities for Coast Guard inshore patrol vessels (IPVs), small ships and interceptor boats and it will use their existing helipad.