Karwar port harbours a white elephant

Karwar port harbours a white elephant

Interceptor boat hoist helplessly

Karwar port harbours a white elephant

The interceptor boat lying idle at Karwar port. DH Photo

This is the hi-tech interceptor boat of the Coast Guard, which sailed into the Karwar harbour a mere 18 months ago amid great pomp and ceremony, to the awe of the locals. The high-powered boat that was expected to zip around the territorial waters off Karwar, patrolling against any illegal intruders and any threat to the high security zone that comprises the port and the naval base, Seabird.

The powerful, completely bullet-proof interceptor, with engine packing 275 HP of power and capable of doing 80 nautical miles an hour did just that for a while, vrooming around off the coast. And then, mysteriously it went into a limbo, anchored in the harbour.

The boat, equipped to carry 16 policemen and four crew, and an impressive light machine gun (LMG) mounted in the bow, did not stir out in the aftermath of 26/11, when suddenly there was all-round concern about the porosity of the western coast. The Coast Guard, for some reason, hired private boats to patrol the coast.

Moored in the harbour, the boat developed barnacles and is now upended for repairs to its keel and hull.

Asked about the boat, authorities cite the non-avilability of operating crew and fuel to power it. Apparently, it was sent to Karwar without any personnel to operate it. Fuel to operate it is also not available. The hi-tech boat which was supposed to strengthen the preparedness of Coast Guard never did fulfil its mandate.

In short, the security interceptor is anchored in the Port Authority like a white elephant.