Indian Coast Guard Current Affairs
Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has conducted Regional Level Marine Oil Pollution Response Exercise titled ‘Clean Sea– 2018’ at sea off Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar (A&B) Islands. The objective of exercise was to ascertain preparedness of IGC, resource agencies and other stakeholders in responding to major oil spill in line with provisions of National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan (NOS-DCP). ICG ships Viswasth, Vijith, Rajveer, Rajshri, 4 interceptor boats and its air assets Dornier and Chetak helicopters participated in the exercise.
Need for exercise
Great Channel between Nicobar Islands and Northern Sumatra that leads into Malacca Straits is marine drive of high seas. Almost 200 ships cross 160-km wide Straits daily making it among busiest sea routes of world. Considering, high intensity of oil tanker traffic through this route, the area is highly vulnerable to oil spills. So there is need for robust national system for oil spill response is critical.
Highlights of Clean Sea-2018
The exercise was planned to evaluate preparedness for Response Operations for any such oil pollution incident in highly sensitive area of A&B islands. The exercise was conducted in two phases for synchronizing support and cooperation provided by all stakeholders for combating oil spills in such ecologically sensitive areas. The exercise saw participation of ICG Pollution Control Vessel and integration of ICG Dornier/Chetak aircraft into Oil Spill Disaster Management System for aerial assessment and delivery of Oil Spill Dispersant for mitigation of spilled oil.
Indian Coast Guard (ICG) under Ministry of Defence is responsible for marine environment protection in maritime zones of India and is coordinating authority for response to oil spills in Indian waters. It has drawn up National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan (NOS-DCP) and has established three pollution response centres at Mumbai, Chennai and Port Blair.
Indian Coast Guard (ICG) launches new Offshore patrol vessel (OPV) ICGS Varaha at L&T Kattupalli shipyard near Chennai, Tamil Nadu. It is fourth in the series of 98 M OPVs designed and built indigenously by Larsen & Toubro (L&T).
It is fitted with advanced technology navigation and communication equipment, sensor and machinery. Its weaponry includes one 30 mm and two 12.7 mm guns with fire control system. It has been designed to attain maximum speed of 26 knots and has endurance of 5,000 nautical miles.
It also equipped with an Integrated Bridge System (IBS), Automated Power Management System (APMS), Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), and High Power External Fire Fighting (EFF) system. It can carry one twin engine helicopter and four high speed boats, including two inflatable boats, for boarding operation, search and rescue, law enforcement and maritime patrol. It will also be capable of carrying pollution response equipment to contain oil spill at sea.
In March 2015, Union Defence Ministry had awarded contract to L&T for construction of seven OPVs awarded. The first and second ships of this project already have been delivered to ICG and are presently based in Western Coast and Eastern Coast of India and third OPV will be delivered in early 2019. The shipyard will deliver all seven ships by March 2021.