Missing boat makes fisheries dept alert; AIS transponders made mandatory
Mangaluru: After Suvarna Tribhuja fishing boat went missing with seven crew on board, the fisheries department is planning to make installation of Automatic Identification System (AIS) in the fishing vessels mandatory.
The AIS is an automatic tracking system of vessels where the transponders fitted in the vessels keep transmitting signals in the sea to the base centers in land. They can also be tacked with the help of satellites, which makes it easier to find vessels in distress during turbulent weather conditions.
It can be noted that the missing 'Suvarna Tribhuja' boat was not fitted with this AIS transponder. If this missing boat had an AIS transponder, then it could have been easier to trace, said sources.
The government has strictly instructed boat owners to fit AIS transponder in the year 2016 and also announced subsidies for the same.The market value of this AIS transponder is around Rs 40,000 now, on which government subsidy is applicable.
Women and SC/ST community members can avail subsidy of 60 per cent while others get subsidy of 40 per cent. However, most of the boats and vessels have not been fitted with this system so far.
According to the statistics available in the department of fisheries, only 41 boats have installed AIS transponders among the total of 3295 fishing boats. As many as 80 boat owners showed interest to install AIS transponder and they have applied for the system through fisheries department. The remaining fishing boats are yet to be installed with the transponders.
RC will be cancelled and diesel subsidy will be withdrawn : Fisheries DD
Dakshina Kannada district Fisheries Department Deputy Director Chikkaveera Naik told Newskarnataka that the government will be serious about fitting the AIS after the boat missing incident.
"It is mandatory for all fishing vessels above the length of 20 meter to have AIS equipment. Despite, government announcing subsidy to purchase AIS transponder, boat owners are not keen on purchasing it owing to many reasons. "We have now decided to cancel registration certificate of the boat and also discontinue diesel subsidy if the AIS is not fitted in the boats, " Naik said.