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Coast Guard alacrity quells ‘terror’ bid

The boat was intercepted on Thursday near Indo-Pak maritime boundary, about 365 kms from Porbandar port in Gujarat.

Praising the Coast Guard for the action taken, defence minister Manohar Parrikar said, “The sea was rough. The Coast Guard did their job exceedingly well and on time. They averted a situation.”

Parrikar also said he has been briefed on the incident.

The incident, which resembled the operation undertaken by terrorists from Karachi who had come in a boat before they launched the dreadful attack in Mumbai in Novermber, 2008, took place during the midnight of December 31 and January 1 when the Coast Guard spotted the vessel about 8 km inside the Indian waters on the maritime boundary with Pakistan.

Following the intelligence input that a fishing boat from Keti Bunder near Karachi was planning some illicit transaction in Arabian Sea, said a statement from the ministry of defence, Coast Guard Dornier aircraft undertook sea-air coordinated search and located the suspect boat. The Coast Guard ship on patrol in area was diverted to intercept the boat.

The Coast Guard patrol intercepted the unlit boat at about midnight of December 31 in a position 365 km west-south west off Porbandar. The Coast Guard ship warned the fishing boat to stop for further investigation of the crew and cargo. However, the boat raised its speed and tried to escape from the Indian side of the maritime boundary.

The hot pursuit continued for nearly one hour and the Coast Guard ship managed to stop the fishing boat after firing warning shots. Four persons were seen on the boat who disregarded all warnings by the Coast Guard ship to stop and cooperate with investigation, the statement said. Soon thereafter, the crew hid themselves in the deck compartment below and set the boat on fire, which resulted in an explosion and major fire on the boat, it said.

KR Nautiyal, Deputy Director General (Operations & Coastal Security) of the Indian Coast Guard, recounted the boat chase and said, “We diverted our surface vessel to intercept the suspicious entity. The surface vessel reached the area by around 10.30 pm. When we encountered this boat, it started running and moved further into Indian waters. We fired some warning shots after which some people came on the upper deck of the boat. Then, they went inside the boat and set it on fire.” Nautiyal also said that the boat sank completely by 6.30 am the next morning adding that the Coast Guard ships were still in the area for further investigation.
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