To patrol the waters of Mumbai, the customs department launched three high tech boats, Ila, Chitra and Kaushalya, which sailed off the Ferry Wharf on Friday. The customs boats have the widest range of jurisdiction—from all around Mumbai to Dahanu.
This was the first phase in which the finance ministry had cleared the decks for three out of the 24 ships proposed by the customs early in 2005.
These ships, which have been imported from Malaysia and each costing around Rs 5 crore, will soon replace the existing customs boats that are old and outdated. A customs official said the officers patrolling in these air conditioned facilities would be provided with hi-tech arms such as AK-47 and SLR rifles. Measuring 20x10 m and sailing at a speed of 32 nautical miles per hour, the two-storey boats have a capacity of around 30 officers on board and are equipped with powerful search-lights, long range binoculars as well as emergency sirens. They also have conference rooms, small dinning rooms, kitchens and toilets.