Fishermen can be alerted about natural disasters and position of the International Maritime Boundary Line while they are at the sea using the NaVIC system, a home-grown GPS, a senior ISRO scientist said Friday.
This will help in loss of lives of fishermen and alert them from entering the waters of the neighbouring countries, he said. The system was developed after the Kerala government approached the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) following the Cyclone Ockhi that claimed lives of fishermen who did not get timely information about the approaching disaster in December last year.
Nilesh Desai, Deputy Director of the ISRO’s Space Application Centre, Ahmedabad said the low-cost device can also give information about the location of fish available in the sea. “There is no mobile network coverage in the deep seas. The gadget that is to be mounted to the device will have Bluetooth connectivity and through our NaVIC messaging feature, we will give more information on prospective storms,” he said at a panel discussion organised at the Bengaluru Space Expo.
The Bluetooth will be connected to mobile phone that will display messages. If there are possibilities of a cyclone, the fishermen can be alerted on time. During the Kerala cyclone, they could not come back from the sea in time.
“This device will also alert the fishermen if they cross the International Maritime Boundary Line,” Desai said. He said Tamil Nadu and Gujarat have also approached the ISRO in this regard. These two states witness fishermen from their states getting arrested by the maritime security agencies of Sri Lanka and Pakistan respectively.
“If they venture (in the waters of the neighbouring countries), they get caught. It can alert them when they are nearing the international water. It will be in the local language,” he said. Desai said they are also adding a feature in the device that will enable them to send messages to a hub.
The message from the hub will be then passed on to their families while they are at the sea. The ISRO also plans to give this device through its commercial arm and PSU Antrix as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). He said some 2,000 units have been built. Each device costs around Rs. 3,500.