January 16, 2024
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed an indigenous technological solution namely Distress Alert Transmitter (DAT) for the fishermen at sea to send emergency messages from fishing boats. The messages are sent through a communication satellite and received at a central control station (INMCC: Indian Mission Control Centre) where the alert signals are decoded for the identity and location of the fishing boat. The extracted information is forwarded to Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres (MRCCs) under Indian Coast Guard (ICG). Using this information the MRCC co-ordinates to undertake Search and Rescue operations to save the fishermen at distress. The DAT is operational since 2010 and till now more than 20000 DATs are being used.
Further, taking advantage of technological developments in satellite communication and satellite navigation ISRO has improvised DAT with advanced capabilities and features evolving to Second Generation DAT (DAT-SG). The DAT-SG has the facility to send back acknowledgement to the fishermen who activates the distress alert from sea. This gives an assurance to him of rescue coming to him. Apart from transmitting distress signal from Sea, DAT-SG has the capability to receive messages from control centre. Using this, advance alert messages can be sent to the fishermen at sea whenever there are events of bad weather, cyclone tsunami or any other emergencies. Thus, the fishermen will be able to sail back home or go to safe places. Further, the information about Potential Fishing Zones (PFZs) are also transmitted to fishermen using DAT-SG on regular intervals. This helps fishermen to get good yield in the catch and savings in terms of time and fuel. DAT-SG can be connected to mobile phones using Bluetooth interface and the messages can be read in native language using an App in the mobile.
The central control centre (INMCC) has a web based network management system called “SAGARMITRA” which maintain a database of registered DAT-SGs and helps MRCCs to access the information about boat, coordinate the boat at distress in real time. This helps Indian Coast Guard to undertake Search & Rescue operations at the time of distresses, without any time delay.
Shri S. Somanath, Secretary, DOS/ Chairman, ISRO declared the services of DAT-SG operational, in the presence of Shri Rakesh Pal, Director General, Indian Coast Guard on 15th January 2024 at INMCC, ISTRAC, Bangalore. The services of DAT-SG are declared operational on 24 x 7 basis.