All fishing boats in West Bengal will be fitted with Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponders soon, irrespective of their size. Earlier, it was mandatory for boats, which were more than 20 feet in length, to have AIS transponders for easier tracking — both for security and safety reasons.
“Various transponders were being tried out. Now, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has come up with one that is both effective and affordable. Each transponder will cost between Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000. The issue of who will bear the cost of the transponders is being resolved. The new system will help in better monitoring of movement of boats along the coast,” said Commodore Suprobho K De, naval officer-incharge (NOIC), West Bengal, on the eve of Navy Day.
Navy Day celebrates the attack on Karachi harbour during the 1971 Indo-Pak War that practically ended any further efforts by the Pakistani navy to operate against India. The 26/11 terror strike on Mumbai was carried out by terrorists from Pakistan, who captured an Indian fishing boat. Since then, efforts have been on to keep tabs on all ships, trawlers and boats, however small, along India’s coast. Both the Navy and Coast Guard have also been using the fishing community as ‘eyes and ears’ to remain informed of any suspicious movement.
According to Captain Sumanta Roy, chief staff officer to the NOIC, two software Trigun and Avgaah are now being used, not only to keep track on all vessels but to store all necessary data on coastal villages, ports, rivers, creeks, marine police stations and other geographical features and installations. “The more data we receive, the more effective will be the monitoring. Once all boats are fitted with AIS transponders, they, too, can be tracked using Trigun,” he said.
Source: Times of India