Investigation by the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) and other security agencies have revealed that two British nationals, on board MV Danica Sunrise, the Danish ship that was detained off the Mumbai coast on April 17, are former soldiers of the Special Air Services (SAS), an elite commando force of the British army.
“They are from the British army and were on board that ship as security guards. We suspect they could be part of the SAS. We have learnt that they have seen action in various parts of the world,” an officer said requesting anonymity.
The officer revealed their names as Christopher and Steven. “We have learnt that Steven was in Mumbai last month too,” he said. Their services must have been taken as their training provides them with skills in dealing with hostile situations, the officer added.
While the ATS and other security agencies are questioning the duo, what has caught their attention is that the ship’s master, Hart Mut, had declared a satellite phone in his possession while sailing from Kuwait to Mumbai. “But we did not find the [satellite] phone. When we questioned Mut, he said that he had declared it by mistake,” said another ATS officer.
Even though traces of explosives on board the ship were confirmed earlier, a team comprising officers from the ATS, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and the customs have been unable to locate any arms till now. Custom sources have expressed fears that the ship might have off-loaded arms to smaller boats before anchoring.
The officer said that search is on. “There are several tanks meant to store fuel and lubricants where weapons could have been hidden,” the officer said.
He said that the ship has at least five “ballast” tanks, which are filled with water in order to maintain balance of the ship. “ We plan to empty each of these tanks and search them thoroughly,” the officer said.
The ship also had five Filipino crewmembers. The master of the ship is a Danish national. He said the company owns two more ships — Danica White and Danica Maraina.