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Customs cracks down on fishing boats with Chinese tracking devices in Kerala by Toby Antony March 26,2020   |  Source: The New Indian Express

To ensure the security of the coastline and prevent smuggling activities through the sea route, the Customs has launched a crackdown on fishing vessels operating from Kerala shores using China-made Automatic Identification System-tracking devices which are mandatory for vessels now.The decision was taken after multiple agencies raised concerns regarding security issues following fishing boats fitted with the Chinese AIS were found on the Kerala coast. Recently, Customs Commissioner Sumit Kumar directed its marine units to intensify checking on fishing vessels which are not using the standard AIS recommended by the government.The marine units have already tracked down 18 such vessels operating from various harbours in Kerala.

“The AIS is an important device to track the movement of fishing vessels. However, the Chinese AIS devices often show wrong locations of the vessels, posing a threat to national security. The vessels fitted with such AIS can be used for smuggling activities as agencies will find it hard to track them. We have issued a show-cause notice to owners of the vessels fitted with Chinese AIS. Action can be taken under Section 11(2)(s) of the Customs Act,” he said.

Difficult to track

A standard AIS costs around Rs 40,000 but it is provided to fishing

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Years in Support of Small Scale Fishworkers (1986 - 2018)