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Coast Guard intercepts two 'suspicious foreign ships' off Gujarat coast

New Delhi: In a span of 20 days, the Coast Guard has intercepted two suspicious foreign ships off the Gujarat coast which had departed from foreign ports but were not scheduled to enter any Indian port, the maritime security agency said on Thursday.

On 10 July, the Indian Coast Guard Dornier aircraft, on surveillance mission, sighted an unfamiliar boat adrift at sea. The aircraft immediately informed the Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Samudra Prahari in the area for investigation, the agency said in a statement.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The boat, Al Bome Marize from Yemen, was intercepted and a Coast Guard team boarded it. Initial investigations revealed that the foreign boat with six crew (three from Yemen, two from Tanzania and one from Somalia), developed an engine problem on 10 June while operating off the Yemen coast and has been adrift since then.

"The boat was searched for illegal contraband or consignment. Thereafter, the boat was towed to Porbandar by a Coast Guard ship for investigation by a joint interrogation team which presently is in progress to verify crew credentials. Two GPS sets were also recovered from the vessel," the statement added.

In a similar incident, a Dhow MSV AL Ariz was intercepted by Coast Guard ship on 22 June while manoeuvering suspiciously off Gulf of Kutch and not replying on VHF, the statement said. The Dhow loaded with sugar, cement, rice and five used cars had departed from Sharjah, UAE on 21 May for passage to Mukalla port in Yemen.

The dhow with 11 Indian crew was checked and then escorted by a Coast Guard ship to Mundra for joint investigation and rummaging. During initial interrogation, the Master stated that he decided to head towards Indian Coast for shelter due to inclement weather.

It also emerged that communication system was also switched off during the passage. The crew, alongwith 10 mobile phones and two GPS sets, have been handed over to police and the custom authorities by the Coast Guard. "A thorough investigation and analysis by a Joint team of  Coast Guard, Police, Intelligence Bureau and Customs is in progress," the Coast Guard said.

Published Date: Jul 13, 2017 22:26 PM | Updated Date: Jul 13, 2017 22:26 PM

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