Despite strengthened coastal security measures following the 26/11 terror attacks a year ago, the Mumbai port remains vulnerable to petty thefts.
At least 30 cases of minor thefts in the port area have been registered with the Yellow Gate police station during this year, although there is 24-hour police patrolling in the area. The police patrolling was introduced after the terror attacks, as the port is adjacent to the naval docks and any incursions could prove dangerous.
According to Chandrakant Naik, senior police inspector at Yellow Gate police station, cases of minor thefts include robbery of raw material stored on ships docked on the six landing points in the area.
When contacted RN Shaikh, chief security officer of the Mumbai Port Trust, downplayed the threat. He added that the Trust had not registered any theft complaints with the police in this year, “Until last year, there were hutments in the surrounding area and robbers used to penetrate inside the area. But after they were razed, such thefts have stopped,” said Shaikh.
The police contradicted this. “We get complaints of raw material like cable wires or nuts and bolts being flicked from ships docked at the points in the area that falls under the Mumbai Port Trust,” said Naik.
Naik said that the Mumbai Port Trust lodges a complaint several days after the thefts, “The Mumbai Port Trust does a survey of the raw material on their ships after regular intervals of one month and if they find any thing amiss they lodge a complaint,” said Naik. In 2008, there were at least 60 theft cases registered.
The police have tightened security along the coast. “We have stationed a rifle guard at each of the six landing points in the area. There are mobile vans stationed there to assist them. We also do a 24-hour land patrolling,” added Naik.