Why in News?                                                                                                        

In a joint operation with the Indian Coast Guard and Customs Preventive Unit (CPU), Ramanathapuram, DRI seized 4.9 Kg of foreign-origin gold at mid-sea near Vedhalai coast, Mandapam in Tamil Nadu.

What is Indian Coast Guard?

  • It is an armed force that protects India’s maritime interests and enforces maritime law, with jurisdiction over the territorial waters of India, including its contiguous zone and exclusive economic zone.
  • It was formally established in 1978 by the Coast Guard Act, 1978 as an independent Armed force of India.
  • It operates under the Ministry of Defence.
  • The organization is headed by the Director General Indian Coast Guard (DGICG).
  • Coast Guard Headquarters (CGHQ) is located at New Delhi.

Role of Indian Coast Guard

  • Safety and Protection of Artificial Islands and Offshore Terminals: Regular patrols are undertaken to keep the Offshore Development Areas (ODAs),under surveillance.
  • Protection of Fishermen: They conduct regular Community Interaction Programmes for fishermen to apprise them about maritime security related aspects and safety measures to be adopted at sea.
  • Search and Rescue: The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centers (MRCCs) coordinate the Search and Rescue (SAR) efforts undertaken by Indian Coast Guard units in liaison with the concerned state government departments.
  • Prevention and Control of Marine Pollution: The Indian Coast Guard conducts regular training for all stakeholders and oil agencies, and continuously validates various contingency plans to prevent environmental damage in case of marine oil-spills. It has developed the capability to be the “first-responder” for oil-spills in Indian waters.
  • Anti- Smuggling operations: They coordinate with the Customs and other enforcement agencies and undertake operations to prevent ingress and egress of contraband, and other items on the banned list.
  • Enforcement of Maritime Laws in Force: ICG ships and aircraft undertake regular patrols to enforce maritime laws, and other regulations and international treaties to which India is a signatory.
  • Safety of Life and Property at Sea: ICG ships and aircraft operations mitigate the effect of maritime accidents, and help in ensuring safety and security from natural or man-made disasters.
  • Facilitate Scientific enquiry: ICG ships collect relevant information regarding meteorological and oceanographic data for analysis and use by the scientific fraternity.