The suspicious fishing vessel, which was apprehended by the Indian Navy off Mumbai’s coast on Saturday, and the crew will be taken to Porbandar in Gujarat for further questioning, Navy sources said.
The vessel was spotted during an aerial surveillance of the area following which the Indian Navy mobilised resources and apprehended the crew.
On August 14, the Indian Navy had apprehended nine persons on board a merchant vessel MV Nafis-1 170 nautical miles off Mumbai’s coast. The vessel is believed to have been used to smuggle contraband and weapons after it was hijacked in July.
Two AK-47 rifles and a pistol concealed in an empty fuel tank of the ship were recovered. Admiral Nirmal Verma, while pointing out that surveillance by both Naval ships and aircraft had been stepped up, admitted that there was a lapse on part of the Navy for MT Pavit to get grounded at Juhu. “Air patrols could not be mounted during that period because of inclement weather. But we will ensure that this does not happen again,” admiral Verma said.
The Navy, meanwhile, has begun tracing the path that MT Pavit took before becoming grounded to find out if any Navy ships were deployed in the area.