Indian Coast Guard vessels and boats would escort all pilgrim boats up to the International Maritime Boundary Line on their way to the Katchativu festival, the Commanding Officer of the Indian Coast Guard station in Mandapam, More, said on Sunday.
Talking to reporters on board hover craft 183, More said that the around 4,000 devotees were expected to visit the Katchativu festival.
Adequate security arrangements would be made in Indian waters.
Four patrolling boats, a ship and two hover crafts would be deployed to provide escort to the pilgrims and one more ship would come from Chennai on the festival day to ensure safety for the pilgrims and visitors. A medical emergency team, rescue team and other teams would be kept on high alert on the ICG vessels.
Fishing tokens would not be issued for two days during the Katchativu festival. The fisheries department would provide life jackets to the visitors and devotees before boarding the boats to Katchativu, he added.
More said that the ICG station had already acquired two hover crafts and was bestowed an additional hover craft 190 recently, which would be commissioned shortly to ensure security in Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar waters. The hover crafts were being operated both on terrain and water to monitor the coastal areas and Indian waters.
He said the Mandapam region was very sensitive and round the clock vigil was being maintained. The Indian Coast Guard also played a vital role in search and rescue operations to trace missing fishermen.
The ICG, More told Express, was seeking adequate land to establish two jetties to berth their vessels and boats to intensify their monitoring activities in Indian waters.
Ramanathapuram district was located 18 nautical miles away from Sri Lanka. Though, the Island Nation was in the list of friendly countries, an indirect threat came from the fact that China and Pakistan were taking efforts to set up their base in there.
The ICG felt that to expand its surveillance capability in Indian waters, the two new jetties in north and south of Uchapuli was imperative to berth their vessels and monitor both sides.
Meanwhile, the ICG conducted various programmes as part of its 36th anniversary celebrations.
Giving details, station commanding officer of ICG More said they conducted blood donation camps, free medical camps and walkathons to create an awareness among coastal people about the importance of marine resources.