It also carries essentials details such as its last port of call and place of registration. Efforts to get an AIS on smaller trawlers and boats haven’t worked out.
A satellite-based two-way communicating transponder developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation is currently under trials for fitment on boats of smaller length but there is no clarity as to who will bear the ₹12,000-14,000 each cost of this.
“Any and every contingency which could crop up in the near future will be tested during this exercise,” a senior naval officer who didn’t want to be named said.
During the exercise, 46 Coastal Radar Stations, 74 National Automatic Identification System Chain stations, four Joint Operational Centers located in Mumbai, Kochi, Vizag and Port Blair and the Gurugram-based Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC), the nerve centre of coastal surveillance and monitoring, will be put to test.
The agencies tested will include the Directorate General of Shipping, which controls merchant shipping; the Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships, which tracks incoming and outgoing ships through the AIS; the Marine Police of coastal states; the Indian Coast Guard; intelligence agencies such as the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing; the Customs department; the local police, and even fishermen. The Indian Navy will lead the exercise.
“Possible scenarios will include trying to breach the security net of AIS systems, coastal radar stations, Joint Command Centers and 24/7 monitoring to reach Indian shores from the seas,” the naval officer said, explaining the aim of the exercise. Interestingly, the exact dates are not being shared among various stakeholders to keep the element of surprise. “Reality checks are all about testing actual response and coordination, else it becomes a rigged game,” the officer said.