Pavit incident an aberration, says Navy Chief Admiral

Claims the incident was a result of ineffective patrolling during monsoon

“MV Pavit was drifting for a month and crossed more than 1,000 miles from the coast of Oman. The weather was bad in the days preceding to its arrival and there was not as much patrol as it should have been. But, it was an aberration,” the Navy chief said after the commissioning of second indigenous stealth frigate INS Satpura here.

Navy claims to have learnt its lessons from the Pavit incident and undertake several steps to plug the loopholes in  the coastal security net resulting in timely detection of two more drifting ships in the last fortnight.

One of them, MV Nafis1 with nine crews, automatic arms and sophisticated communication devices was detected and captured days before Independence Day.

“Another ship was detected 250 nautical miles off Mumbai last night,” Verma said.
As the Pavit episode exposed gaps in the three-tier coastal security system, Navy officials explained that it was virtually impossible to create an impregnable surveillance net along the vast Indian coast line due to paucity of resources and inclement weather.

“We plug the gaps as we detect them. That's the best we can do,” said an official. Setting up of the coastal radar network is expected to bolster coastal surveillance. “The first radar will come up before 2011 end in Gujarat,” Verma said.

The plan is to set up a chain of 46 radar stations — 36 in the mainland —which will scan the horizon to detect and help identify vessels approaching the mainland. The Rs 602-crore project was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security in February 2009.
In addition, a Rs 132-crore contract has been finalised to put in place 84 automatic identification system (AIS) stations along the coast. All vessels with a tonnage between 100 and 300 tonnes and all fishing vessels more than 20 metres in length have to install an on-board AIS, which would be tracked by these stations.

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