VASCO: The Director General of Indian Coast Guard (ICG) Rajendra Singh, on Thursday, said that the Indian Coast Guard plays a major role in protecting the wide ranging maritime interest of the nation in the maritime zones of the country, and capability building has been a continuous endeavor for the ICG ever since its inception in 1977.
Singh was speaking at the commissioning ceremony of the last in the series of six 105-meter offshore patrol vessel (OPV) Sujay for ICG at a function held at the GSL yard in the presence of chairman and managing director GSL Rear Admiral (retired) Shekhar Mital; additional director general, ICG, (Western Seaboard) K Natarajan; inspector general Coast Guard region (West) Commander K R Nautiyal; inspector general, Coast Guard region, (North East) K S Sheoran, deputy inspector general of ICG, Goa region Manoj Baadkar and other officials of the IGC, Indian Navy and GSL.
Speaking further, the director general of ICG said that the ICG was bestowed with greater responsibilities of country’s coastal security post- 26/11.
“Consequently, we doubled our efforts in building up force level and shore infrastructure for sustained surveillance and for expeditiously reaching the scene of any incident or accident,” he said.
He said that the GSL, all along, has been the single and most important partner in the growth story of the Coast Guard.
“Indeed the ICG has come a long way since 26/11. We have significantly enhanced our presence on the coastline, adding two more regional headquarters, three district headquarters, 20 new stations and 6 new air enclaves. The Coast Guard added 17 aircrafts to its fleet in the last decade and its current inventory of 134 ships is more than double of pre-2009. Similarly, our rapid intake of 70-75 officers and 300-350 sailors every six months and induction of 969 officers, 5,694 sailors and 479 civilians since 2009, is a feat which surpasses the manpower recruited in the Coast Guard in 30 years, leading upto 2009,” Singh said.
Mentioning about the seizure of biggest consignment of drugs, Singh highlighted that the ICG in its recent operation has confiscated drugs valued at over Rs 3,500 crore.
Earlier, the ICG affected successful seizure of drugs worth Rs 600 crore in the year 2015, he added.
He maintained that the ICG has saved 7988 precious lives at sea over the years, besides over 488 lives consequent to the very severe cyclonic storm Ockhi.
He informed that the ICG has given medical evacuation assistance for about 282 merchant mariners.
“I would like to reassure that a strong Coast Guard augurs very well for maritime safety and security of our nation,” said Singh.
He said that the Coast Guard is working tirelessly with all stakeholders with vibrant vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of ‘Make in India; which is enshrined in the new Defence Procurement Procedure.
“I take immense pride in saying that presently 12 offshore patrol vessels, 19 fast patrol vessels and 33 interceptor boats are all being built indigenously at various Indian shipyards,” said Singh.
“The ICG Ship Sujay is a new generation offshore patrol vessel, equipped with most advanced and sophisticated sensors and equipment. The vessel is designed to perform multi-farious roles at extended ranges from the coastline including surveillance of maritime zones of India, safety of offshore installations, search and rescue, anti-smuggling and anti-poaching and marine pollution response operations. The ship is capable of embarking and operating the advanced light helicopter and also incorporates a high degree of automation,” informed Singh.
Speaking on the occasion, the GSL chairman and managing director said that commissioning of last in the series of OPVs for ICG is a momentous occasion and it is a pride moment for the GSL, marking the conclusion of the Coast Guard OPV project by the GSL.
“Starting with the delivery of ICGS Samarth on October 30, 2015, the GSL has successfully delivered all the six high quality OPVs within a short span of 2 years, with the last delivery of this ship was on November 4, 2017, 34 days ahead of schedule,” said Mital and added that incidentally, GSL is the only DPSU to secure 100 per cent MoU score this year, leaving all other shipyards far behind, in the operational performance of the shipyard.