To provide greater maritime security for its offshore oil and gas blocks, the government is planning to raise manpower strength of the Offshore Defence Advisory Group (ODAG) of the Indian Navy from the current 44 to 302.
Apart from this, Vessel and Air Traffic Management System (VATMS) for surveillance of oil and gas installations and immediate supports vessels as well as speedboats are also being procured. The capital expenditure for strengthening offshore surveillance would be borne by the oil exploration and production companies in ratio of their operational area.
“The Navy has agreed to bear recurring expenses provided suitable budgetary allocation for recurring expenditure along with approval for enhanced manpower of ODAG is concurred by the finance ministry,” a petroleum ministry official told the Hindustan Times .
The 10-year perspective plan of ODAG envisages capital expenditure of Rs 47.64 crore in 2010-11 to Rs 70.55 crore in 2017-18 with a maximum of
Rs 138.14 crore in 2013-14. For recurring expenditure, Cabinet approval would be required for enhanced budgetary alloacation from Rs 6.30 crore in 2008-09 to Rs 56.96 crore in 2017-18.
A proposal for finalising maritime disaster prevention and emergency response is being considered by the shipping ministry.
The public sector oil companies have paid more than Rs 300 crore for emergency towage vessels. Plans are afoot to create a corpus for the purpose of creating an emergency system of towage and salvage. Additional funds can be pooled from all concerned companies. Once the funding structure is in place, the acquisition of high capacity tugs can be deliberated upon based on cost economics of hiring vis-a-vis owning and maintenance.
The positioning of these tugs can be finalised depending upon response time, traffic and past experience. ONGC has additionally invited expression of interest for procurement of four immediate supports vessels.
The vehicles may be procured in 2009-10. A tender has also been issued for charter hiring of 8 fast patrol to replace trawlers.