Port Wings News Network:
The Navy along with the Coast Guard successfully conducted the Coastal Defense Exercise ‘Sea Vigil’ in close coordination with all maritime stakeholders, including the fishing and coastal communities from 22 to 23 Jan 19.
The mega exercise undertaken along the entire 7516.6 km coastline and Exclusive Economic Zone of India with over 30 ships and aircraft of Indian Navy and Coast Guard as well as 85 patrol boats manned by various security agencies participated in the exercise at West Bengal , Odhisa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nandu and Puducherry is the first of its kind. Whilst the Marine police boats were operating up to five miles from the coast, Navy and Coast guard had deployed their assets on the high seas. Air tasks of IN/ICG assets were also undertaken to maintaining high vigil at sea.
During the exercise, all coastal police stations and control rooms, fishing harbours and landing centres, port control rooms, and other operational centres of Navy and Coast guard were fully activated. Security was beefed up at all vital installations/ assets and SPM’s off Visakhapatnam, Paradip and KG Basin. Audit of International Ship and Port Facility Security(ISPS) code was carried out by ports. On similar lines all agencies concerned with maritime security assessed their own organisations to identify gaps and address them on priority. Additionally, multi-agency teams also evaluated the security set up implemented by agencies at fish landing centres, police control rooms and ports amongst others. Critical areas and processes including inter-agency coordination, information sharing and technical surveillance were also assessed. Multi-agency audit and identification of gaps/shortfalls in coastal security construct were also checked.
To evaluate the coastal security mechanism simulated infiltration from the sea by joint teams from security agencies agencies collectively called as Red force was attempted. These teams aimed to breach the multi-tier security barriers at sea, close to the land and in the hinterland. Hijack/ hostage situation onboard merchant vessels operating off east coast was also simulated to check effectiveness of CMG (Crisis Management Group) and Naval Commandos.
Exercise SEA VIGIL covered the entire coast of India including island territories and went deeper being spread over seaward, coastal and hinterland areas. In the discharge of responsibilities of coastal security the IN and ICG conducted this exercise of such large scale with assistance of stakeholders which highlights a great level of synergy of efforts and coordination between all stakeholders.
The conduct of this exercise has been facilitated by Ministries of Defence, Home Affairs, Shipping, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Fisheries, Customs, State Governments, Union Territories and other agencies of the Centre/ State.