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Pakistan Maritime Security Agency

The establishment of Pakistan Maritime Security Agency had its genesis in the United Nations Convention on Law Of the Sea -1982 (UNCLOS-82). This was a landmark convention that streamlined most of the gray areas in the law of the sea. In order to consolidate the advantages offered by UNCLOS-82, the requirement of enforcing National and International laws at sea became a necessity.

Thus, a National Maritime Affairs Coordination Committee was constituted by the Government in 1983 to look into the new avenues offered by UNCLOS-82. Deliberations of the Maritime Affairs Coordination Committee first led to the establishment of a Maritime Affairs Wing in the Ministry of Defence in May 1986. Thereafter, Pakistan Maritime Security Agency was established on 1st January 1987 for enforcement of National and International laws, policies and conventions at sea. The PMSA Act was passed in 1994 by the Parliament which provided the necessary legal powers to PMSA to perform its tasks.

ACT NO. X OF 1994 "An Act to provide for constitution and regulation of the Maritime Agency" on 29 June 1994. Subject to over all control and superintendence of the Federal Government the command and administration of the Agency shall vest in, and the exercised by, the Director-General at its chief executive in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the rules and regulations made thereunder.

The Agency shall be responsible for the regulation and protection of the maritime interests of Pakistan and to assert and enforce national jurisdiction and sovereignty in the Maritime Zones. The functions of the Agency shall be to-

  • prevent unauthorized exploitation of any economic resources by any person, agency, vessel or device within the Maritime Zones;
  • protect Pakistani fishing vessels and crew against any threat, intrusions or interference within the Maritime Zones;
  • enforce the national and international laws, agreements and conventions on and under the water in the Maritime Zones;
  • assist and coordinate search and rescue for the vessels. Property and lives in any emergency in the Maritime Zones and on high seas;
  • assist other departments and agencies of the Government to maintain and preserve the quality of marine life and to prevent and control the effects of marine disasters including marine pollution in and around the ports, harbours, coastal areas, estuaries and other areas of Maritime Zones
  • assist and co-ordinate with national and international agencies in hydrographic land oceanographic research, navigation, weather reporting and other scientific activities in the Maritime zones.
  • assist other departments and agencies of the government in safe-guarding and protecting artificial islands, offshore terminals, installations and other structures and devices in the Maritime Zones.
  • Provide assistance for petroleum exploration and production in the Maritime Zones.
  • render assistance to other agencies in acquisition of mineral exploration, seismic studies and assessment data in the Maritime zones.
  • Cooperate with, provide assistance to Customs, Coast Guards and other departments, agencies and authorities in Maritime Zones in the discharge of their duties and functions.
  • provide and effective secondary maritime force for deployment in any emergency, war or conflict and
  • perform such other functions as may be assigned to it by the Federal Government, from time to time, to protect maritime interests of Pakistan.

In addition to the powers and functions as officers of the Agency, such officers may Perform functions of

  • Officers of customs as may be entrusted to them and exercise such powers under the customs Act, 1969 (IV of 1969), as may be delegated to them under section 6 of that Act; and
  • Fishery Officers as may be entrusted to them under the Exclusive Fishery Zone (Regulation of Fishing) Act, 1975 (XXXII of 1975), and exercise such powers under the said Act as may be delegated to them under section 14 thereof.
  • Police Officer and exercise all the powers conferred on an officer in charge of a Police Station under the Police Act, 1861 (V of 1861), and under the Code of Criminal Procedure,

The Government may, at andy time, assign or delegate any other functions or powers upon any officer of the Agency under any law for the time being in force in the Maritime Zones. In exercise of the powers and performance of their functions under this Act, the officers and members of the staff may make inquiries, examinations, inspections, investigation, searches, seizures, and arrests for prevention, detection and suppression of contravention of any law for the time being in force within the Maritime Zones and for that purpose, the officers and members of the staff may board any vessel except ships, vessels or craft of Pakistan Armed Forces.

PMSA inducted 09 X Fast Response Boats from USA. They have a displacement of 14 Tons, and are 45 Feet (13 meters) long. FRBs are propelled by dual Caterpillar C-9 Accert Marine Engines with 02 X J-322 Hamilton Water Jets. The Boats are highly seaworthy which can acquire a maximum speed of 35-40 Knots depending upon sea state. For navigation purposes state of the art NAVAIDS are installed including Furuno Radar, NAVNET Electronic Plotter, Depth Sounder, Magnetic Compass, GPS, VHF and Heading Sensor. FRBs are extensively utilized in fulfilling PMSA roles and tasks comprising SAR, Antinarcotics Operations, patrolling, Surveillance and Enforcing Maritime Sovereignity & Jurisdiction.

With the inception of Pakistan Maritime Security Agency, the need of an aviation wing was felt in order to maintain surveillance and to control illegal activities. First Maritime Surveillance Squadron was inaugurated on 23 June 1988 with the induction of F-27 Fokker aircraft as an interim measure, for surveillance at sea. The aircraft was placed at Civil Airport Karachi for the purpose of logistics support and parking area. Efforts were made to acquire dedicated Maritime Surveillance Aircraft leading to formal establishment of PMSA Air Wing as 93 PMSA Squadron with first Defender Aircraft at PNS MEHRAN in year 1993. To provide strength and flexibility in air operation of Pakistan Maritime Security Agency, need of another aircraft was felt. Thus in 1994 the second Defender Aircraft was inducted and the third Defender aircraft in 2004.

At the time of inception of PMSA in 1987, the PMSA Headquarters was located in a hired building in Karachi. Today, HQs PMSA is located a custom made new building in Karachi which was inaugurated on 15 January 2011 by Chief of the Naval Staff. Location of the building is adjacent to KS & EW and in close proximity of the Karachi Fish Harbour. There is a sea front, where construction of wharf is planned for berthing of PMSA units in future. The site is also near PN Dockyard and KS & EW, whose repair/maintenance facilities are utilized by the PMSA Fleet. PMSS INDUS was commissioned on 1st July 2002 to provide administrative and logistics support to HQs PMSA and all other units of PMSA [the nomenclature follows that of the Royal Navy, where shore establishments are named as though they were ships]. This is an important unit of PMSA whose officers and men have always shown their commitment to achieve highest standards of professionalism and efficiency.

PMSA Base Gwadar was established in 1991 to regulate fishing activities and to act as logistic Base for PMSA craft at Gwadar Fish Harbour. A limited number of staff with country craft were deployed at the Fish Harbour to achieve the objective. With the passage of time, the infrastructure was expanded. Presently, PMSA Base Gwadar is well established in terms of equipment and personnel to undertake assigned responsibilities in an efficient manner. The Base has been assigned an area of responsibility of 80 NM along the coast extending from Iranian border to Ras Shamal Bandar.

Initially a PMSA Picket was established at the Pasni Fish Harbour on 20th May 1996. A limited number of staff was deployed initially to regulate the fishing activities. Later, PMSA acquired two pieces of land, measuring 10.65 acres and 15 acres for establishing a fully operational Base at Pasni. This Base has been assigned an area of responsibility of 64 NM along the coast within territorial waters extending from Basol River till Ras Kappar. Random patrolling is conducted in the assigned area of responsibility. The Base is instrumental in providing assistance to fishing boats in terms of SAR.

Proposal to establish PMSA bases at Keti Bandar and Ormara has been approved by the Government. Construction work will start "soon" as of 2016. Case for construction of a wharf for berthing of PMSA units has been taken up with the Government for approval. Case has been forwarded to MoD for construction of PMSA residential complex in Karachi. Case for construction of sea front facilities including slipway, jetty, basin and navigational channel at PMSA Base RISHAD (Pasni) is under process. A case for construction of a boat ramp/ slipway near HQs PMSA for hoisting and repair / maintenance of Fast Response Boats is under process at MoD. Case is being pursued with Joint Staff Headquarters for allocation of 30 acres of land with sea front in Joint Cantonment Gwadar for operational use of PMSA.

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Page last modified: 17-01-2017 19:43:58 ZULU