Coastal Security: America’s Waterway Watch is Applicable to India Also

by OldSailor on February 26, 2009


Subsequent to sea based terrorist attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008 the Indian government has initiated series of measures to improve coastal security. The government has clarified in clear terms that the task of guarding the coastline is entrusted to Coast Guard and the responsibility of overall maritime suspicious_activitysecurity rests with the Indian Navy.

Government Role

Some of the measures initiated by the government to improve coastal security are:

  • Coordinated working of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways and Ministry of Agriculture to review, upgrade and strengthen the coastal security of the country.
  • Directed all coastal states/Union Territories
    • to expedite the implementation of the approved Coastal Security Scheme such as early completion of construction of coastal police stations, check posts, out-posts and barracks apart from sanctioning, recruitment and training of executive and technical manpower.
    • to immediately start coastal patrolling by locally hired fishing boats/trawlers, charges being reimbursable by MHA.
    • to carry out vulnerability/gap analysis on their coasts in consultation with Coast Guard, and furnish their additional requirements for formulation of a comprehensive proposal for further approval of the Government of India.
  • Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways has been directed to streamline the process of registration of all types of vessels, i.e., fishing as well as non-fishing vessels, and also to ensure fitting/provision of navigational and communication equipments on these boats.
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairies & Fisheries is taking steps to issue ID cards to all the fishermen.
  • The Registrar General of India (RGI) is also issuing ID cards under Multi-purpose National Identity Card (MNICs) Scheme to all the population in the coastal villages including fishermen.

Despite the preventive actions being taken by the government, we can not ignore

  • Admiral Sureesh Mehta Indian Navy Chief’s warning on February 18, that nuclear weapons may be smuggled into India through the sea route.
  • Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka Sri Lanka Army Chief’s warning on February 23, that the frustrated air wing of the LTTE terrorists may penetrate Indian coast through the sky to carry out attacks.

Certainly to improve coastal security, Indian citizens also have an important role to play. Tips for Indian citizens to improve coastal security is available at America’s Waterway Watch of United States Coast Guard (USCG).

Citizens Role

Indian citizens have to report any suspicious activity on the coastline to the nearest police/coast guard authorities.

Some of the tips available for Indian citizens from America’s Waterway Watch are:

  • What is a suspicious activity ?
    • Unusual operation of a small boat , accompanied by video taping or still photography. photography
    • People taking still photographs or video taping from the shore.
    • A person running away from an area close to a secure facility.
    • Person engaged in surveillance.
    • Person asking unusual questions.
    • Suspicious conditions: physical breaches of security
    • Person renting a boat: totality of conduct.
  • Some of the suspicious activities to be reported are:
    • People appearing to be engaged in surveillance of any kind (note taking, shooting video/photos, making sketches, or asking questions).
    • Unattended vessels or vehicles in unusual locations.
    • Lights flashing between boats.
    • Unusual diving activity.
    • Unusual number of people onboard.
    • Unusual night operations.
    • Recovering or tossing items into/onto the waterway or shoreline.
    • Operating in or passing through an area that does not typically have such activity.watchout
    • Fishing/hunting in locations not typically used for those activities.
    • Missing fencing or lighting near sensitive locations.
    • Anchoring in an area not typically used for anchorage.
    • Transfer of people or things between ships or between ship and shore outside of port.
    • Anyone operating in an aggressive manner.
    • Individuals establishing businesses or roadside food stands near sensitive locations.
    • Small planes flying over critical locations.
    • People attempting to buy or rent fishing or recreational vessels with cash for short-term, undefined use.
  • While reporting a suspicious activity to the nearest police/coast guard authorities, give some descriptive details using CYMBALS.
  • CYMBALS is an acronym that may help you remember descriptive information about people, boats and vehicles.
People Boats Vehicles
Color (hair, eyes, clothing, skin) Color (Paint, markings, etc.) Color (Paint, markings, etc.)
Year of birth, approximate age Year (of manufacture) Year (of manufacture)
Make (Race, Ethnicity) Make (make and model of boat) Make (make and model of vehicle)
Body (Body type, height, weight, build, etc) Body (Length, Runabout, Cruiser,  Etc.) Body (Sedan, Truck, SUV, Van, 4-door, 2-door, Etc)
Attire (Clothing description, dress, etc) Accessories: (Name, antennas, flags, pennants, inboard or outboard, etc.) All Others (Dents, Bumper Stickers, Rims, Tinted Glass, etc.)
Looks (Hair, Scars, Tattoos, Facial hair, etc.) License/Registration Number License Plate Number
Sex (Male, Female) State of registration State of registration

Here is an interesting video clip on America’s Waterway Watch.

For more information, log on to America’s Waterway Watch.

Here are the video clips of Admiral Sureesh Mehta’s warning from Videos From India: Clip 1, Clip 2.

Press release from Press Information Bureau dated February 18, on “Plan to beef up coastal security following Mumbai Attack”

Post in MarineBuzz on this day a year before:

Advice to Seafarers: Never Publish Your Scanned Certificates in Internet

India Successfully Test Fires Undersea K-15 Missile

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