State to crack down on private yachts and boats

Jan 07, 2015, 09:02 IST | Sharad Vyas

Private boat parties off the Mumbai coast could become the focus of security agencies, as the most intense crackdown on yachts and vessels off the Gateway of India could begin soon in the wake of the incident on the Gujarat coast last week, where an alleged terrorists’ boat blew up under suspicious circumstances.

Owners of yachts will face stringent registrations. File picture for representation
Owners of yachts will face stringent registrations. File picture for representation

The Maharashtra government has decided to put in place a comprehensive plan to decongest Gateway of India, making registration of private boats/yachts extremely stringent and restricting the traffic movement by putting it under surveillance of the Indian Navy and Coast Guard.

For starters, the owners of yachts and private boats operating from Gateway will have to register them with the Mumbai Maritime Board (MMB), in addition to being licensed by the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT). The registration guidelines will be applied to private vessels berthing at the MbPT marina, and boats plying from Gateway to Alibaug as well, officials said.

This will reduce the role of Royal Bombay Yacht Club (RBYC) or any other private club, that currently serves as the nodal agency for members and liaises on their behalf and on behalf of non-members with the MbPT, and improve state surveillance.

Two-member panel
The Maharashtra government on Monday set up a two-member panel under Additional Chief Secretary (home), K P Bakshi, and former Director General, Shipping, Gautam Chatterjee to draw up a comprehensive plan to decongest Gateway of India. The panel will submit its report in a month’s time.

“In view of the incident off the coast of Gujarat last week, we have decided to strengthen our coastal security arrangements, including regulating movement of private boats from our shores.

This includes making the registration process more stringent, and verifying the berthing of vessels and movements of yachts and boats from important coastal destinations on Maharashtra’s coastline,” chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya told mid-day.

Coastal security
In a meeting between the Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Home department officials on Monday to take stock of coastal security, it was decided to speed up land acquisition of nine coastal police stations that are currently stuck because of land issues.

The Maharashtra Home department had envisaged constructing a total of 19 stations along the state coastline. A decision was also taken to allot land for building the regional headquarters of the Coast Guard at Wadala.

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