Concerned over incidents of ships entering the city’s shores completely undetected, the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) and the state government discussed the idea of installing radars along the coast to monitor such vessels.
S Shinde, managing director, Maharashtra Maritime Board, said they also spoke about bring beaches under the surveillance of 5,000 closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras to keep an eye on suspicious activities.
“These radars would help us monitor the movements of ships entering the territorial shores,” said an MMB official. The territorial water of the city’s coastline is within 12 nautical miles from the coast.
The official added that CCTVs would be installed at vital locations on prominent beaches such as Juhu, Versova, Shivaji Park and Girgaum Chowpatty.
The coastal radar chain is proposed for detecting ships at a distance of 30 to 50 nautical miles through the Automatic Identification System (AIS) that sends out signals. Any vessel not triggering an AIS response on the radar screen would be stopped and searched.
Questions about coastal security are being raised after the security agencies failed to identify ships from entering Mumbai shores. On June 11, MV Wisdom, a 175-metre long merchant vessel bound for Alang scrap yard in Bhavnagar, broke free from its tug and drifted the Juhu beach. On July 31, cargo vessel MT Pavit ran aground off the Juhu beach.
A few days later, on August 4, MV Rak Carrier sank about 25 nautical miles away from Mumbai.