27 Anchored in monsoon, patrol boats can’t handle choppy seas
Little has changed since the 26/11 terror attack, as the coastal arm of the Mumbai police continues to remain ill equipped even today, according to coastal police officials.
Alarm bells ring every monsoon as poor-quality boats allotted to the coastal police have to be anchored because of rough seas, and 12 nautical miles (equivalent to 18km) of the sea around Mumbai, which falls under the jurisdiction of the coastal police, is left vulnerable.
As most of boats are anchored, the coastal police have to depend on six boats of 275 horsepower each, which were bought in 1996.
These lowspeed boats are capable of patrolling only the shores near the coastline and pose a threat to policemen if they are taken even beyond 1 km in rough seas.
The boats could turn turtle or break down at sea.
Top officials of the port zone of Mumbai police, under whom the coastal police stations fall, recently sent a proposal to the state government for permission to procure at least 10 improvised patrol boats.
Officials said though the proposal has been cleared in principal, the actual arrival of boats could take some time.
Boats are key for the port zone police as smuggling of oil and other goods takes place all year round, as was revealed after Coast Guard raided the smuggling dhow MSV Yusufi in April this year.
Apart from smuggling, boats are also used for rescue operations, to counter terrorism-related threats.
Being short-staffed, poorly trained and ill-equipped, coastal policemen feel they are poor cousins of big brothers such as the Coast Guard and the Navy.