India's Coast Guard will celebrate 30th anniversary on February1, 2008
The Indian Coast Guard completes thirty one glorious years of service to the nation on Friday, February 1, 2008. Youngest of the four armed forces, the Coast Guard has grown from strength to strength since its formative years. The organization that started with just two frigates and five patrol boats leased from the Indian Navy, has grown into a competent and capable force comprising 76 ships including small crafts and 45 aircraft. The force is mandated with the task of protecting the marine wealth and vast ocean resources in the enormous Exclusive Economic Zone of 2.013 million square kilometers.
The dedicated efforts of the Coast Guard has resulted in saving 4,049 lives at sea to date, out of them 185 lives were saved in the year gone by – that translates to a life being saved every second day. Since inception, the Coast Guard has apprehended 9,220 foreign fishermen along with 925 fishing vessels for violating the Maritime Zones of India Act. The repatriation of these fishermen back to their countries of origin is a responsibility that also rests on the Coast Guard. 254 personnel have been repatriated to the countries of their origin in the year gone by.
The Coast Guard has vigorously pursued its charter for the preservation of marine life. Every year, “Ops Olivia” is conducted to prevent the poaching of the endangered Oliver Ridley turtles along the Orissa coast. The Coast Guard has till date seized 315 boats along with 500 crew involved in poaching these protected species.
he Coast Guard also coordinates the National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan. Efforts are underway to make the ports and oil handling agencies self reliant in providing response to oil spills of up to 700 Tons i.e Tier 1 capability. This would leave the Coast Guard to tackle major oil spills even in the deep sea with specialized vessels.
The Coast Guard is also assisting the Coastal States in setting up Marine Police Stations and training the police personnel under the Coastal Security Scheme. To date 862 police personnel have been trained and Marine Police stations set up in 41 locations.
The emerging security situation in the backdrop of global terrorism calls for the Coast Guard to be at the highest state of vigil. To counter this new challenge, the Coast Guard has stepped up their aerial and surface surveillance to safeguard assets against subversive threats from the sea.