New Delhi, November 26
Years after the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, India is still struggling to install surveillance devices in nearly 2.22 lakh ships.
14 years since 26/11, no lessons have been learned
- Without an Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponder, no vessel less than 20 meters in length can be identified as friend or foe.
- As 2.2 lakh ships do not have AIS tracking devices, these cannot be identified by the 46 radars and 74 AIS receivers installed after 26/11.
“It’s still a work in progress,” a Navy source says, noting, “This is the unfinished business of the Coast Guard plan after 26/11.”
The National Committee for Water Recovery and Coastal Protection (NCSMCS) headed by the Cabinet Secretary has come up with a comprehensive plan after the 26/11 attacks.
No tracking device, called automated identification system (AIS), transponder, no small ship, less than 20 meters long, can be identified as friend or enemy. As 2.2 lakh ships do not have AIS tracking devices, 46 coastal radars and 74 AIS receivers installed on 26/11 cannot pick up these.
Fishing vessels under 20 meters in length do not require the installation of AIS transponders. These boats are the main vessels for fishermen who reach the country’s 7,500 km coastline.
AIS is mandatory for vessels over 20 meters. The AIS transmitter always emits a signal that is unique to the vessel and is picked up by ground radars and AIS receivers. The signal identifies the vessel, its owner, registration etc.
An AIS converter costs Rs 20,000, an amount not all fishermen can afford.
The Indian Space Research Organization has developed a space-based transponder that will allow signals from ships to reach shores and transmit distress messages, such as cyclones.
Tests are conducted for tracking ships below 20 meters. The tracking device was first installed on a small patrol boat in Mumbai followed by trials on ships. both were successful. Other naval operations were carried out in small boats along the coasts of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
The source said that fishermen fear that when they get this device, their activities will be recorded. Also, fishing is a state subject.