To increase shipping efficiency and maritime security
Union Shipping Minister Sh. Vasan has dedicated the Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) for the Gulf of Kachchh to the nation, at Kandla Port in Gujarat today. The concept, design and implementation of the entire scheme were done by the Directorate General of Lighthouses & Lightships (DGLL) team, under the Ministry of Shipping. VTS is a co-ordinated measure and services of a number of sensors like Radars, Automatic Identification System (AIS), etc. and they all are integrated to develop an overall scenario by which appropriate advice can be given to the Master of the vessel. This will help in improving waterways and harbour management, increase shipping efficiency and above all help the regulatory authorities and security agencies in detecting unlawful activities and anti national activities.
Sh. Vasan said in his inaugural speech that establishment of a VTS for the Gulf of Kachchh had been a long felt need though the completion was delayed due to difficult terrain and logistical challenges. The scheme has been implemented at a cost of about Rs.165 crore, with 50 per cent contribution from DGLL, 25 per cent from Gujarat State Maritime Board and 25 per cent from Kandla Port Trust.
The service area of this VTS will cover water area of 16500 sq.km. and extends over a coastal stretch of 800 KM at 22 sites from Koteshwar near Sir Creek to Okha on the Saurashtra Coast, to cater the needs of all the ports of the Gulf of Kachchh. This is one of the largest systems in the world presently catering to requirements of 6 ports with capability of extension to 10 other ports. However the Vessel advisory is available to all the vessels plying in the entire Gulf.
Sh. Vasan informed that apart from 6 Port Monitor Stations, the Indian Navy has been provided with monitoring set up at Okha and the Coast Guard at Okha and Jakhau. With completion of the scheme, an orderly traffic in the Gulf would be ensured which will reduce risk to human lives, severity of accidents and environmental pollution in these strategic and congested waterways.
The Minister further informed that DGLL has been identified for establishing Nation’s Surveillance Network and they are in the process of completing National Automatic Identification System (AIS). This Network will be able to track vessels up to 25 Nautical Miles from our coast. Lighthouses are also being used for establishment of Radar Network. This would form the most formidable surveillance network which would help in easily identifying unfriendly vessels, Sh. Vasan added.
DGLL is also establishing Navtex Chain to facilitate in broadcasting weather and safety related information which will be of vital importance to mariners especially during natural disturbances.
DGLL is tasked with providing state-of-the-art aids to navigation facilities along the Indian Coastline and also in the Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands. In this endeavour they maintain 181 lighthouses, 64 Radar Beacons, 23 DGPS stations and 25 deep navigation and wreck working bouys.
Source: Press Information Bureau, Government of India