Marine to strictly enforce regulation in coastal areas

Kendrapara: The marine wing of Odisha police have launched a drive for compulsory enforcement of regulation on sea-worthy vessels in the wake of the recent seizure of a foreign vessel and arrest of 16 Bangladeshi nationals along the state`s coast last month. Nodal officer of state police`s coastal security wing Shantanu Kumar Das said today that the marine police besides the wing of state fisheries department were directed to carry out seizure of fishing vessels without having official permit. Besides direction was issued to fisheries personnel to take the crews to task without identity proof cards, Das said.

"We have launched a coordinated effort to curb threat perception with help from state fisheries department and coast guard personnel," he added. Sixteen Bangladeshi nationals were arrested on October 24 for sea-route infiltration charge under Maritime Zone of India Act (section-15), foreigners act (section-14), 25 & 27 Arms Act and under section 307 Indian Penal Code.

The crews of the foreign vessel were armed and they had fired upon local vessel near Balaramgadi fishing hub in Balasore. Though the investigation is yet to rule out any terror plot, uncorroborated clues indicate the crews were part of either a smuggling racket or drug peddling gang.

With Kendrapara, Jagatsighpur, Bhadrakh and Balasore vulnerable to sea-route infiltration through trespassing vessels, it has been made mandatory for vessels to be armed with license and permit for sea voyage. Besides it has been made mandatory that the local fishermen will have to carry identity cards issued by the marine fisheries department while undertaking fishing operation, official sources said.

For fishermen and crews of vessels from neighbouring coastal states, carrying the proof of identity like EC photo identity card has also been made mandatory. Any violation would invite stringent penal action under the existing law of the land. The offenders would be put under arrest besides confiscation of their vessels, he maintained.

Non-registration of communication gadgets that the vessels carry would also invite penal action. As fishing vessels have often been made the conduit for subversive activity elsewhere, emphasis is on to intensify vigil on marine fishermen and sea-worthy vessels, Das said. The state police have asked the marine fisheries department for the detailed list of number of fishermen living along the coastal villages, he said.