Merchant ships to inform presence of armed guards
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Last Updated: Monday, March 12, 2012, 22:15
Mumbai: Following the incident of Italian marines onboard an oil tanker shooting dead two local fishermen off Kerala coast, the Directorate General of Shipping here has issued a notice, saying that merchant vessels should report the presence of armed guards to the Navy or the Coast Guard.

"All merchant ships are advised to report the presence of armed guards on board to Indian Navy or Indian Coast Guard," says the notice, signed by Captain Harish Khatri, Deputy Director General of Shipping, and issued on March 7.

It also advises vessels to exercise extreme caution when approaching within 50 nautical miles of Indian coast.

The merchant vessels should take note of dense fishing traffic on the Indian coast, the possibility that they may be approached by the boats for safeguarding fishing nets, and should not mistake such fishing boats for pirate skiffs (as happened in the Kerala incident), the notice says.

The merchant vessels are also expected to report any suspicious craft within Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to the Coast guard.

According to the notice, over 3 lakh fishing boats operate off the Indian coast. "Fishing off the coast of Kerala and Karnataka is particularly intense during the post-South West monsoon and extends up to 50 nautical miles from the coast," it adds.


First Published: Monday, March 12, 2012, 22:15

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