By Staff Reporter — MUSCAT: April 3 - The Royal Oman Police (ROP) Coast Guard said it conducted 216 search and rescue operations last year and saved 149 of the 172 people who were reported for drowning and also confirmed that its main role is to carry out search and rescue operations, protect coasts and reduce smuggling, infiltration and illegal immigration. In a report, the agency said that the number of search and rescue cases conducted last year (216) was an increased compared to 126 in 2015. Main reasons were lack of enough fuel in the boats, marine safety marine equipment and periodic maintenance of the engine, among others.
There have been ten accidents due to maritime collisions last year and six cases of onboard fires. Violations of the maritime law with regards to fishing top the challenges for the Coast Guard in the territorial waters of Oman. There were 86 cases of violations observed by the Coast Guard and such cases were referred to the relevant authorities for to take legal action. With regards to infiltration by 293 people were caught compared to 164 in 2015, stressing the role of citizens and their cooperation with the police to address the issue of infiltration by reporting the suspicious movement of boats.
On smuggling of narcotics, alcohol and diesel, it was reported that the there were 28 operations compared to 21 in 2015, topped by cases related to the smuggling of liquor (15). In drowning cases, apart from the figures mentioned above there were 18 cases of maritime drowning in which all crew members were rescued. The Coast Guard advised the sea travelers to follow weather bulletins and not to risk taking to the sea during unstable weather conditions.