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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

US ship won't move till probe completed: Vasan

PTI  Chennai/Tuticorin, October 16, 2013
First Published: 19:59 IST(16/10/2013) | Last Updated: 20:17 IST(16/10/2013)

The US-based ship detained off Tuticorin port for illegally carrying arms and ammunition will not be allowed to move out till the probe was over, shipping minister GK Vasan said on Wendesday as Tamil Nadu Q Branch Police took over the investigation from Marine police.

"We are still to find answers to many questions, the probe will bring out the truth. Till then, the ship will not be allowed to move out of Tuticorin port", he told reporters here.

Vasan's remarks assumed significance in the backdrop of BJP voicing concern over what it called the Centre's "silence" over the detaining of MV Seaman Guard Ohio and its demand that the government come clean on the issue.

Meanwhile, in Tuticorin, a Q Branch team, led by Superintendent of Police K Bhavaneeswari, questioned some crew members and obtained details on various issues, including the arms and ammunition stored onboard the vessel.

The state government had on Tuesday transferred the probe into the ship case to the Q Branch.

Sources said the the Q Branch team perused records available on board the ship and they were being scrutinised.

The ship flying the Sierra Leone flag was intercepted by the Coast Guard in Indian waters some 15 nautical miles off Tuticorin coast on October 12 and an FIR registered against 35 persons onboard under the Arms Act for carrying arms without authorisation and Essential Commodities Act for buying 1,500 litres of diesel illegally with the help of a local shipping agent.

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