News:The Indian Navy in collaboration with Indian Coast Guard has conducted a large scale Anti Hijacking Exercise named Exercise Apharan at the Port of Kochi,Kerala.
About Exercise Apharan:
- The exercise was aimed at streamlining the response mechanism to thwart any attempt by anti-national elements to hijack a merchant vessel or attempt forced entry of a rogue/commandeered merchant vessel into Kochi harbour.
- It saw the participation of multiple agencies including more than 12 ships and helicopters of the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and Cochin Port Trust.
- The exercise allowed all stakeholders to assess the preparedness of their organisations, identify gaps to address them on priority and formulate an integrated Crisis Management Plan for Kochi Port.
- The need for anti-hijacking exercises is particularly important for India which suffered from an attack from the sea during the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
- Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea through illegal use of force by non-state agents, popularly known as Pirates.In recent years, the problem of piracy has emerged as a major threat to the sea transportation in some parts of the world.
- The hot spots of piracy today are the Indian Ocean, East Africa and the Far East including the South China Sea, South America and the Caribbean.
- In recent times,pirates have been found to be very active in the waters between the Red Sea (particularly in Gulf of Aden) and Indian Ocean off the Somali coast and in the Strait of Malacca.
- While the piracy has declined in the Indian Ocean with no hijackings reported in the Western Indian Ocean in 2018, it is still present in other waters.
- The Indian Coast Guard is a multi-mission organization entrusted with superintendence and policing of India’s maritime areas including the Exclusive Economic Zone.
- ICG 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).