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Coast Guard intercepts boat with explosives from Pakistan

Fishing boat intercepted by coast guard

New Delhi: A suspicious fishing boat carrying explosives from Pakistan was intecepted by Indian Coast Guard in Arabian Sea near Indo-Pak maritime boundary but it sank after the crew on board set it on fire, an incident that comes a month after sixth anniversary of the Mumbai terror attack.

An intelligence-based midnight operation was conducted by the Coast Guard ships and aircraft to intercept the suspect fishing boat, approximately 365 km off Porbander in Gujarat, on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 after a hot pursuit.

As per the intelligence inputs received on December 31, a fishing boat from Keti Bunder near Karachi was planning some illicit transaction in Arabian Sea, a statement by the Defence Minsitry said today.

Based on the information, a Coast Guard Dornier aircraft undertook sea-air coordinated search and located the suspect fishing boat.

Thereafter, the Coast Guard ship on patrol in the area was diverted and intercepted the unlit boat at about midnight of December 31 in a position 365 km west-south west off Porbandar.

The Coast Guard ship warned the fishing boat to stop for further investigation of the crew and cargo. However, the boat increased speed and tried to escape away from the Indian side of the maritime boundary.

The hot pursuit continued for nearly one hour and the Coast Guard ship managed to stop the fishing boat after firing warning shots.

Four persons were seen on the boat who disregarded all warnings by the Coast Guard ship to stop and cooperate with investigation, the statement said.

Soon thereafter, the crew hid themselves in below deck compartment and set the boat on fire, which resulted in an explosion and major fire on the boat, it said.

Due to darkness, bad weather and strong winds, the boat and persons on board could not be saved or recovered. The boat burnt and sank in the same position, in early hours of January one.

Ten terrorists involved in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack had reached Mumbai in a boat from Karachi in Pakistan. The attack had left 166 people dead.

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