The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) seized contraband worth Rs 1,500 crore and 10 illegal foreign fishing boats with 80 miscreants in the Indian exclusive economic zone in 2020, an official statement said on Sunday.
A country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is the area, extending from the coastline to 200 nautical miles in the sea, wherein it has exclusive rights to fish, drill and conduct other economic activities.
The ICG's statement said, "The 'preventive and measured response' stance of operations introduced just over a year ago, ensured that more than 6,000 fishing boats with about 40,000 fishermen were escorted to safe harbours during the passage of 11 cyclones last year, thus averting loss of lives and property at sea."
The ICG has the responsibility to maintain surveillance around 2 million square km area in the Indian EEZ.
The maritime law enforcement agency would be celebrating its 45th Raising Day on February 1, 2021, the statement said.
Despite the restrictions imposed by the 'Covid-19' pandemic, the ICG has maintained 24x7 vigil in the EEZ, by deploying about 50 ships and 12 aircraft daily, it stated.
"The deterrence at sea and coordinated air surveillance by the service enabled seizure of contraband worth about Rs 1,500 crore and apprehension of more than 10 foreign fishing boats with 80 miscreants illegally operating in the Indian EEZ alone in year 2020," it said.
From a modest beginning with just seven surface platforms in 1978, the ICG has grown into a formidable force with 156 ships and 62 aircraft in its inventory and is likely to achieve targeted force levels of 200 surface platforms and 80 aircraft by 2025, it added.