In a bid to put an end to smuggling activities off the city's coast, the city police has asked the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) to close down Hay Bunder located at Sewri, from where the contraband-laden MSV Yusufi dhow was intercepted.
The landing point at Hay Bunder has been operating since Independence. It would now come under the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code that would curb smuggling activities.
After the matter was taken up with the MbPT, the port zone police learnt that Hay Bunder was being used as a landing point since as early as 1948. "The landing point (bunder) is generally classified as major or minor port depending on the type of shipping activity that takes place there. In case of major ports, the place is secured by CISF commandos. However, we were told that the port has been used by MbPT due to its locational convenience and that it was not categorised as a minor or a major port," said a police official.
The police asked port authorities to shut operations at Hay Bunder, which is surrounded by nine other landing points. "We have received a letter from MbPT stating that Hay Bunder and surrounding points have been closed for operations," said Tanaji Ghadge, deputy commissioner of police (Port Zone).
The police also learnt that several dhows using radio communication systems such as the AIS (Auto Identification System) were non-functional on several occasions, or that second-hand systems were being used. "Top officials issued orders to synchronise systems with the new dhows," added a police source.
The same was discussed at a meeting attended by Port Zone police, Coast Guards, MbPT and Navy officials.
Mohan Chandran, public relations officer of the MbPT, denied having any knowledge of this.