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Security at ports to be beefed up

November 28, 2008 17:46 IST

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In the wake of Mumbai attacks by terrorists who came by the sea route, the Centre on Friday decided to authorise the Coast Guard to check all the "suspicious merchant vessels" prior to entry at the country's ports.

At a high-level meeting called to review port security, chaired by Union Minister for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways T R Baalu, it was also decided that customs would also inspect the vessels "at outer anchorage and within port limits".

The Union minister directed the DG Shipping to "undertake a special audit" of port security in all major ports of the country "to ensure compliance of all security measures".

He instructed all the port chairpersons to "immediately" send their security requisitions to the concerned security agencies especially the Central Industrial Security Force to ensure that security issues are "not compromised at any cost".

The minister also directed the concerned authorities to ask the CISF to inspect and vet all security equipement inluding CCTVs being used at the ports and advise changes if required.

The meeting was attended by high-level representatives from navy, CISF and ministry of home affairs besides all the port chairpersons.

During the meet it was also decided that all the "major ports" will take "immediate steps" to acquire minimum two speed boats for patrolling the water front in "their respective areas of operation", an official said.

The port authorities who attended the meeting were also asked to ensure that the trucks entering the ports should have "Vehicle Tracking System" in place to keep a watch on their movement.

Baalu directed the DG Shipping to request the Indian Space Research Organisation "to expedite" its project design and devise a low cost boat tracking system for fishing vessels.

"It was pointed out at the meeting that there are multiple agencies for registering fishing vessels and therefore maritime states should be asked to ensure that due care is taken in this regard," an official said.

The Central Industrial Force is being requested to deploy a Maritime Commando Unit while the CISF is also being asked to raise Bomb Disposal Squads and Dog Squads separately for each port, he added.

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