Coast Guard apprehends Pak fishing boat with 7 crew members off Gujarat coast

Ahmedabad, Jun 1 (PTI) The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) apprehended a Pakistani fishing boat with seven crew members in the Indian waters in the Arabian sea off the Gujarat coast, a Defence official said on Wednesday.

The Pakistani boat, suspected to be carrying some contraband, was apprehended by the ICG on the intervening nights of May 30 and 31 on an intelligence input shared by the Gujarat Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS).

“@IndiaCoastGuard ship Arinjay on #intelligence input by ATS #Gujarat apprehended #Pakistani fishing Boat Al Noman with 07 crew in #Indian waters at #ArabianSea. Boat suspected of carrying contraband & being brought to Okha for further rummaging and investigation,” said Defence PRO, Gujarat, on its Twitter handle, @DefencePRO_Guj.

It said that the boat is being brought to Okha (in Devbhumi Dwarka) for further rummaging and investigation.

“The Pakistani boat ‘Al Noman’ with seven crew members was apprehended by ICG ship ‘Arinjay’ on the intervening nights of May 30 and 31 based on an intelligence input shared by the Gujarat ATS that it was carrying a consignment of contraband,” Defence sources said.

No contraband was found during the preliminary search of the boat in the sea but intensive rummaging will be undertaken after it is brought to Okha on June 2, they said.

Speaking about the operation, the sources said that when the ICG ship directed the boat, moving suspiciously in the Indian waters close to the notional maritime boundary with Pakistan, to stop, it started evasive manoeuvring.

“ICG ship Arinjay, despite very rough sea and challenging weather, manoeuvred and stopped the boat. On close examination, it was revealed to be a Pakistani boat,” they said.

The preliminary investigation was conducted at the sea, however, due to the rough sea, the detailed joint investigation with the ATS will be conducted at the Okha harbour, they added.

Gujarat has seen a spate of large seizures of heroin and other banned drugs from the Arabian sea as well as at Kandla and Mundra ports.

In May, the ICG and the ATS had apprehended a Pakistani boat with nine crew members carrying heroin worth Rs 280 crore.

In April this year, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence seized 205.6 kg of heroin worth Rs 1,439 crore from a container near Kandla port, which was part of 17 containers that had landed at the port from Iran between September and October last year.

Last September, the DRI had confiscated 2,988 kg of heroin worth Rs 21,000 crore from two containers at the Mundra port in the largest heroin haul in India. The investigation in the case was handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

In a similar case last December, the ICG apprehended a Pakistani fishing boat off the Gujarat coast with six crew members carrying 77 kg of heroin worth around ? 400 crore.