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The Shipping Directorate is in the process of setting up an offshore lighthouse (Lushington Shoal) about 20 NM from Okha (in Gujarat) the government said yesterday.
This will facilitate in reducing the voyage of Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) and Ultra-Large Crude Carriers (ULCCs) coming from the Gulf by about 30 NM, according to Shipping Minister GK Vasan.
The minister said the Shipping Directorate is also presently implementing Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) for the Gulf of Kutch which is in final stages of completion. The partial trial run of the system has commenced from the Kandla Master Control Centre.
Besides it is also establishing a Navtex Chain which will facilitate in broadcasting weather and safety related information – vital to mariners during natural disturbances.
The minister said that a sophisticated surveillance system capable of tracking vessels up to 25 Nautical Miles (NM) is being installed along the country”s 7516-km-long coastline in a bid to strengthen internal security. The step to avert recurrence of incidents like Mumbai terror attacks, also follows government plans to set up lighthouses at every 30 NM along the coastline and islands by 2017 to keep a close vigil in the area.
“…after the terrorists attack of 26 November, 2008, the process of establishing a surveillance network using lighthouses has gained momentum which has expedited the establishment of an Automatic Identification System (AIS) Network,” Vasan told a parliamentary panel.
The advanced system, he said, will enable the tracking of vessels upto 25 Nautical Miles from the Indian coasts. Besides lighthouses are set up “at an interval of 30 Nautical Miles all along the coastlines and islands of India by 2017 so that a seamless visual and video coverage of the Indian coastline is available,” he said while chairing the meeting of Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Shipping.
A lighthouse is a tower designed to emit light and is used as an aid to navigation for pilots at sea or on inland waterways.
Vasan said the Shipping Directorate through the Differential Global Positioning System (GPS) chain of 23 stations, provided at the lighthouses, seamlessly cover the Indian waters and provides better than five meters positional accuracy upto 100 NM from the cost.
The NM is a unit of length and by international agreement it covers about 6,076 feet of sea distance.