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Sunday, August 21, 2011

JUHU BEACH HEADACHE: Straying of M.V. Pavit has exposed gaps - Navy Chief!


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K.V. Prasad, The Hindu / MUMBAI, August 20, 2011.

Sailors onboard INS Satpura during its commissioning at the Naval dockyard in Mumbai on Saturday. Photo: Vivek Bendre
Sailors onboard INS Satpura during its commissioning at the Naval dockyard in Mumbai on Saturday. Photo: Vivek Bendre - The Hindu.

Admiral Nirmal Verma commissions latest indigenous stealth frigate ‘INS Satpura' in Mumbai.
Admitting that the straying of merchant vessel Pavit into the Mumbai coast last month was an “aberration,” Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma on Saturday said the Navy had drawn lessons from it to fill in the gaps so that such incidents did not recur.
Having taken flak for the incident that saw the 1000-tonne abandoned vessel running aground on the Juhu beach, the Navy, he said, was re-tracing the path studying the tide and weather charts and juxtaposing it with patrolling duties mounted during those days. This would establish if the ghost ship slipped past the surveillance, including those mounted by international navies on an anti-piracy mission.
MAKING INGRESS TOUGH
“It was an aberration and lessons have been drawn, I do not see it happening again... there are gaps to be plugged and each step we take is to make ingress difficult,” Admiral Verma said at a press conference after commissioning the latest indigenously-built stealth frigate ‘INS Satpura,' at the Naval dockyard here. The ship is the second of the Rs. 8,000 crore Project-17 class with ‘INS Shivalik' commissioned earlier and ‘INS Sayhadri' expected to follow-suit.
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IMPOUNDING M.V. NAFIS
While asserting that the Navy was tasked with the overall responsibility of coastal security since early 2009, Admiral Verma said the efficacy of the system that was being refined on a regular basis could be seen in seizing move. Nafis earlier this month. The merchant vessel too was drifting on the high seas and the Navy launched a marine commando operation to apprehend the crew with arms and ammunition. He said right now the Navy was tracking a suspicious vessel some 250 miles off Mumbai and trying to ascertain its identity.
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RELYING ON HOTLINES
In the absence of the network, the Navy and other agencies were depending on hotlines, while 18 lakh fishermen were being trained to become the ‘eyes and ears' in providing timely information and also in effective use of mobile networks, the signals of which are available as far as 15 miles from the shores. Stating that the level of coordination among 15-odd different maritime agencies was much better than before the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, he said there were other suggestions, including appointment of a Maritime Security Adviser
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