Maritime Surveillance

On the Beat

Surveillance of our maritime domain is absolutely vital for ensuring an appropriate response to any developing situation relating to maritime safety or security. Effective surveillance by all available means is therefore, a sine qua non to be forewarned and forearmed. At present our surveillance is built around regular patrols undertaken by surface and air platforms of the designated areas. This also ensures ‘presence’ of units at sea, akin to a policeman ‘on the beat’, who act as a deterrent and can then provide ‘first response’ to an emergent situation, such as an act of piracy, oil-spill, medical evacuation from a merchant ship or to a fisherman fishing boat in distress.

Interceptor Boat investigating Dhow

Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) Surveillance

India is bestowed with vast natural and economic resources  in its 2.0 million sq km EEZ, wherein the ICG maintains surveillance around the year. Whilst on surveillance in the EEZ, ships and aircraft establish two-way communication with offshore oil platforms, merchant ships and fishing boats, further emphasising its ‘on the beat’ philosophy and assuring them of ‘help at hand’.

    Cruising along the Exclusive Economic Zone

Aerial Surveillance

Aerial surveillance by the ICG is carried out using shore-based aircraft and helicopters. These aerial platforms sanitize large areas of sea within a short time and are usually the first to respond to any situation at sea.  Helicopters operating from the deck of ships also undertake surveillance. ICG aircraft  and helicopters are equipped with sensors and weapons to monitor and combat unlawful activities at sea. Select ICG aircraft are also equipped with pollution surveillance gear to detect oil-spills at sea. Aircraft and helicopters can additionally spray oil-spill dispersants on major oil-spills before these threaten  the coastline and vital assets. ICG aircraft have undertaken numerous pollution response operations, including one off Galle Harbour in response  to a request by the Government of Sri Lanka.

    Eyes in the Skies

Extended EEZ Surveillance

ICG surface and air assets are deployed in Maldives EEZ to provide assistance to Maldives by undertaking surveillance in their EEZ as per the decision taken by the Government of India and Maldives.

ICG Ship entering Male Harbour

Coastal Security

An Offshore Security Coordination Committee (OSCC) was constituted to ensure smooth and efficient functioning of offshore security arrangements, and to identify peace-time threats to offshore installations, such as terrorism and sabotage. The OSCC develops contingency plans to be implemented by various agencies in respect of offshore security. The DGICG is the Chairman of the OSCC, and the first meeting was held in 1978 under the Chairmanship of the then DGICG Vice Admiral VA Kamath. The exponential growth in the offshore Oil and Natural Gas sector has necessitated a manifold increase in the responsibilities of the ICG, in terms of responding to breaches of security, or  likely threats, as well as fishing activity in the vicinity of oil platforms that could jeopardize safety.

Maintaining Guard Against all Odds

Offshore Security

The ICG contributes  towards  development  and implementation of an effective security mechanism to combat sea borne threats. The security matrix attended  by the ICG encompasses a host of operations and involves measures  undertaken to address coastal security, offshore security, anti-terrorism, anti-piracy and port security. The ICG also provides  support  to the Indian Navy to ensure the maritime security of the country. After the Mumbai attack in 2008,  there has been a paradigm shift in the maritime security apparatus with increased emphasis on surveillance, intelligence gathering and information sharing among the various stakeholders  to ensure an effective response to any emerging situation.

FPV Patrolling off Mumbai High


Boarding Operations

'Boarding' is an operation of stopping and entering a ship or a boat with the intention of inspecting it for any illegal activity such as anti-smuggling, anti-poaching and drug trafficking. Regular boarding operations are undertaken by ICG ships based on intelligence inputs and also at random.


Boarding Team in Action



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Last updated: 18/06/2024

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