Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan commissioned the state of the art Pollution Control Vessel (PCV) “Samudra Prahari” at the naval dockyard in the city yesterday. The sophisticated vessel will join the growing fleet of Coast Guard vessels that will protect Indian waters against both environmental and security risks.
The CG says the Prahari, built at a cost of Rs 20 crores, is extremely technologically advanced and is said to be the first of its kind in South Asia. ABG Shipyard at Surat has built the 4,300 ton 95 m long vessel. It boats 3000 KW twin diesel engines and twin shaft generators, reaches a peak speed of 21 Knots and can go 6500 nautical miles at economical speed without refuelling. Equipped with the latest pollution monitoring and response equipment, the Prahari also has a helipad, Dynamic Positioning, advanced navigational and communication sensors, an Integrated Platform Management System, Power Management System, an infra-red surveillance system that can detect even small boats in rough seas, a gun mount and a High Power External Fire Fighting System. The Prahari will carry five high-speed boats and four water scooters for security, marine pollution response, SAR and law enforcement purposes. It will have a crew of ten officers and a hundred men, will be based in Mumbai and be deployed in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The Chief Minister said at the commissioning that the PCV would help to tackle environmental issues such as the ones seen after the recent MSC Chaitra collision with the Khalijia. He also revealed that two more such PCVs are in the pipeline, as are another 26 interceptor boats that will be used for maritime security and surveillance. The CG is being augmented in other ways, he added, revealing that a new station had been opened at Murud Janjira and Ratnagiri along the Maharashtrian coast. “I am aware that the CG is facing an acute shortage of land for developing its infrastructure. The government is committed towards strengthening coastal security measures and would facilitate land acquisitions for infrastructure development,” Mr. Chavan said, pointing out that land had already been allotted to the CG in some areas in and around the city.
Across India, the Coast Guard expects to induct, in all, two Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), 13 Inshore Patrol Vessels (IPVs) and 61 Interceptor Boats (IBs), besides the three PCVs. These should be all in place by 2014, sources say.
Vice Admiral Chopra, Director General of the Indian Coast Guard, said at the Prahari commissioning that CG stations in the country would double by 2012. “On an average, more than 20 CG ships are out on the sea. With the threat of terrorism, the role of coastal security has gone up. It is essential that pollution control operations are launched immediately. The CG's response to the oil spill was swift and professional. They launched operations in rough weather. The task would have been more effective with a PCV,” he said.