Port Blair, Oct. 25: With the Andaman & Nicobar group of Islands covering almost 30% of India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and its location at the confluence of vital sea lines of communication making it strategically important, the role of India’s only Unified Command, the Andaman & Nicobar Command (ANC) in securing the coasts and marine wealth has always been a challenging one. While efforts have been on by ANC to maintain strict vigil across the Andaman Seas, through regular air & sea surveillance and joint anti-poaching operations in coordination with the local Administration; the ANC now is geared up to take a leap forward to address the coastal security concerns better.

The Command is all set to induct as many as 14 water jet propelled Fast Interceptor Crafts (FICs) equipped with Guns, Communication Equipment, AIS (Automatic Identification system), and Radar besides an acoustic device (LRAD) (Long Range Acoustic Device) used for scarring any threat away. With the induction of FICs, Coastal Patrolling along the Andaman & Nicobar Islands is expected to get a fillip. The newly introduced FICs manufactured by Solas Marine, manned by a crew of 04 is capable of max speed upto 50 kts (Approx 100 kmph).

The 14 FICs will be inducted in four batches in ANC, with the first batch of four FICs scheduled for induction by the end of the month. These boats will be positioned at Port Blair, Diglipur, Kamorta and Campbell Bay.

A team of specialised Sagar Prahari Bal (SPB), which was raised in the aftermath of 26/11 attacks in Mumbai and trained at INS Dronacharya in Fort Kochi, is already positioned in the Andaman & Nicobar Command. The team will operate these boats for harbour security, Force Protection (Guarding Naval Assets and Strategic Installations from Sea Borne threats) and Sea front Security.

Earlier Govt. of India had recommended a chain of static sensors to be set up in the form of Shore Radar Stations. Out of the 46 Radars, 18 are being installed in Andaman & Nicobar Islands in a phased manner. The Static Sensors will be covering the island chain starting from East Island in North Andaman to Pulo Millow Island in the Nicobars.