Will ensure Pavit incident does not happen again: Navy chief (Lead)

August 20th, 2011 - 9:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Aug 20 (IANS) Merchant vessel MT Pavit, that drifted into the Indian waters without being detected and raised coastal security fears, was an “aberration”, navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said Saturday.

“The fact that it happened is true and must be accepted that it has been an aberration,” Verma told reporters here after commissioning the navy’s stealth warship INS Satpura.

The navy and other coastal security agencies have learnt a lesson with the incident and the matter is being probed, he said.

“After the Pavit incident, we have done a lot more… There have been lessons which have been drawn from (the incident). I don’t see it could happen again the way it happened. We are changing some of our patrol areas and procedures to ensure a similar situation does not happen again,” said Verma.

The merchant ship was drifting for over a month and for over 1,000 nautical miles before it ventured into the Indian waters July 31 without being detected by either the navy or the Indian Coast Guard.

He said though there was reasonable deployment of warships in the Arabian Sea, “bad weather” had affected the deployment and it was not “as good” as it used to be.

The vessel was spotted by some fishermen, who after noticing its aimless movement, informed the authorities. However, by that time the ship had already run aground off Juhu beach here.

The 1,000-tonne Panama-flagged vessel had suffered engine failure and ingress of water before it was abandoned off Oman after the crew were rescued.

The navy chief said authorities were “tracing the path back to see if at any point it could have passed within the deployments we had”.

He said there was another detection 250 miles off the Mumbai coast Friday night. “We are not even talking about the 25 km or mile belt. We are trying to find out suspicious craft as far as possible,” he said.

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