A North Korean ship, sailing to a Pakistani port, detained by the Coast Guard and the Navy after it was found anchored in Indian territorial waters off Vatakara coast without permission, is likely to be released as officials have not found any objectional cargo on board.
"The investigating team did not find any incriminating cargo or evidence on board. Accordingly, the procedures for the vessel to leave Indian waters are being initiated", Navy sources said in Kozhikode on Sunday.
The authorities, who inspected the vessel, which had set sail from Colombo to the Pakistani port of Bin Qasim near Karachi, had confirmed that the claims of the ship crew were genuine, the sources said in Kochi.
The crew had cited internal leak in its tank as reason for anchoring in Indian waters, they said. The ship 'Hyang Ro' owned by the Sinhung Shipping of North Korea, has a crew of 44.
A joint team comprising Indian Navy, Coastguard, Intelligence agencies, police and port authorities completed their investigations of the ship, which had anchored without mandatory clearance on October 2, about 35 kms off Vatakara coast, the sources said.
Information about the ship was given by local fishermen.
In a joint operation, the ship was surrounded and detained by two Coastguard ships and a Navy vessel and the crew was questioned. It was joined by police and state marine force also, a senior Coastguard official said.