Disputes over Tamil Nadu fishermen allegedly crossing over into Sri Lankan waters may soon be handled effectively, thanks to a ‘Maritime Border Indicator (MBI)', conceptualised by two final-year students of St. Joseph's College of Engineering.
Once the MBI is installed on a fishing boat, it uses global positioning satellites to triangulate the position of the vessel.
The international coastal border is programmed into a microcontroller that forms part of the device. As the boat enters the danger zone (within 0.5 km of the border), the device generates a beep sound so that the fishermen can retreat.“When the boat reaches the border, the fuel cut-off mechanism will become operative and stops the engine of the motor boat, so that the maritime border is not crossed,” said Princy Perpetua, who collaborated with fellow-student Nelson Naveen on the project.
“Once the engine gets deactivated, the crew can press an emergency button that will allow them to retreat. It can be used only once within the danger zone,” said Nelson.
The duo studied the methods that were in place to notify fisherman of the international border, but found these to be inadequate. “A few years ago, the government had provided fishermen with a sensor that could be dropped into water in times of crisis, so the signal can be picked up by the ground station,” said Princy, “but these did help the fishermen out at sea.”
“We have applied for a patent for this project. As of now, we have developed only a prototype and we need the government's help,” said Nelson. “The important thing is that the device will cost only between Rs.2,000 and Rs.2,500 and can be installed within the boat itself,” said Princy, highlighting that the battery is sourced directly from the boat's engine or through solar panels. The project was presented at the 29th Annual International Technical Festival Apogee 2011 at BITS Pilani in March this year.