Marine surveillance heightened off Goa coast

December 13th, 2008 - 5:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Dec 13 (IANS) The last few days have seen unprecedented marine surveillance along Goa’s 105 km long shoreline with the Coast Guard (CG), the navy and the state police’s marine force crisscrossing the waters in a bid to thwart any potential attempts by terrorists to slip into Goa by sea during the Christmas weekend.The move comes in the wake of specific inputs received by the state government from various intelligence agencies, which claim that Al Qaeda has set its sights on Goa during the festive week of Christmas leading up to New Year’s day.

The specific threat also finds mention in a secret cabinet note circulated by the chief secretary a couple of weeks ago.

CG District Commander M. Dangui told reporters Saturday that they had increased their sorties manifold and that trawlers moving in the sea were being inspected at random.

“Two advanced light helicopters (ALH) and a Chetak are right now covering the entire Goan coast along with adjoining regions of Maharashtra and Karnataka,” Dangui said, adding that a special interceptor boat had also been deployed.

According to Dangui, a special watch on the movement of trawlers had been mounted and all trawler owners had been advised about carrying proper identification documents while venturing out to sea.

Meanwhile, the police have also hired four trawlers and will use these to keep an eye on any suspicious movements along the coast.

Superintendent of Police Om Prakas Kurtadkar said that the trawlers would be operated by professionals who knew the lay of the sea. The trawlers would have marine police force personnel on board who would physically inspect any suspicious vessel.

The Indian Navy has also been roped in by the state government for assistance in patrolling.

“We are looking at a three layered surveillance operation. The shallow coastal waters off Goa will be scanned by the marine police, the waters beyond that will be monitored by the CG boats while the deeper waters will be patrolled by the Indian Navy,” a home ministry source said.

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