No formal proposal by Navy on fishing ban near LNG terminal
Kochi: The Indian Navy on Friday said it has not submitted any formal proposal to the Kerala government, either to ban or restrict fishing activities near the LNG terminal at Puthuvypeen and Vallarpadam container terminal.
"The Navy has called for sanitising the area, not for any ban or restriction of fishing activities," Flag Officer Commanding in Chief, Southern Naval command, Vice-Admiral Satish Soni said.
"The Navy has great respect for fishermen. It is our job to protect fishermen and to protect the rights of fishermen and to ensure they fish," he told reporters on board INS Sharda, the latest addition to the training squadron.
It is also the Navy's duty to ensure that economic activity goes on unhindered, he said.
Soni said the area with SPM (Single Point Mooring) facility to pump crude oil from ship to shore tanks of Kochi refinery is very strategic.
"We want the area to be sanitised," he said when asked about media reports that the Navy had submitted a proposal to the government to ban fishing near the LNG terminal and Vallarpadam terminal areas.
Soni said he would meet the Chief Secretary on December 18 to discuss matters of coastal security and other issues.
"The Navy is very keen to ensure that areas around Kochi and Kerala coast should be sanitised. We want all fishing boats to have identification systems," he said.
Last year, there were 45 occasions when the Navy went to help the fishing community, he said.
Intervention of Naval and Coast Guard vessels had led to the arrest of armed guards on board Enrica Lexie, the Italian merchant vessel.
"When M V Prabhu Daya collided with a fishing boat it was again the Navy and Coast Guard which arrested the ship and detained it in Chennai," he said.