Coast Guard nabs vessel involved in diesel smuggling off Mumbai | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Coast Guard nabs vessel involved in diesel smuggling off Mumbai

Apr 18, 2024 09:28 AM IST

The boat was equipped to store up to 20,000 litres of fuel. It was apprehended on April 15 and brought to Mumbai anchorage on Wednesday morning

Mumbai: The Indian Coast Guard has apprehended an Indian fishing boat allegedly involved in diesel smuggling 83 nautical miles off the northwest coast of Mumbai. The boat was equipped to store up to 20,000 litres of fuel. It was apprehended on April 15 and brought to Mumbai anchorage on Wednesday morning. The vessel and 11.46 lakh found on it has been seized, while all five crew members including the tandel (chief of crew) have been detained, said officials.

Coast Guard nabs vessel involved in diesel smuggling
Coast Guard nabs vessel involved in diesel smuggling

The regional coast headquarters of the Coast Guard launched the operation based on a tip-off on April 15, said a Coast Guard spokesperson. Upon receiving information that a boat with five crew members had departed from Mandwa port at about 8 pm on April 14 with an intent to smuggle diesel, two Coast Guard Fast Patrol Vessel (FPVs) and one Interceptor Boat were pressed into service.

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The vessels carried out boarding operations under challenging night conditions and amidst considerable fishing and merchant traffic, covering an area of 200 square miles including offshore development areas off Maharashtra coast, said the spokesperson. After the suspected boat was located, a thorough search was carried out which revealed its holds were modified to store fuel up to 20,000 litres of fuel. A sum of 11.46 lakh was found on the boat, which the tandel revealed was meant to be given to some Indian vessels operating from offshore areas in return for smuggled diesel.

The suspected boat was also found operating with false/multiple identities. Correlation with available data indicated multiple discrepancies in vessel registration as well.

The vessel was brought to Mumbai anchorage in the early hours of Wednesday.

“Mumbai Customs has taken the crew, boat and cash under its custody and is further legal action is being taken,” said deputy commissioner of police (ports), Mumbai police, Sanjeev Latkar.

A joint investigation by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Customs, state intelligence and state police is underway to trace linkages of the suspects with syndicates and initiate further legal action by respective agencies, said a press note from the Coast Guard.

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