Reviving memories of the 26/11 terror strike on Mumbai, the Coast Guard on December 31 night intercepted a Pakistani fishing boat with explosives near the maritime boundary off the Porbandar coast in the Arabian Sea.
At least four persons, who were seen on the boat but disregarded all warnings by the Coast Guard to stop, are believed to be dead, after the crew “blasted” the ship.
“As per the intelligence inputs received on 31st December, a fishing boat from Keti Bunder near Karachi was planning some illicit transaction in the Arabian Sea,” a statement from the Defence Ministry said on Friday.
Based on the intelligence inputs, a Coast Guard Dornier aircraft undertook a sea-air coordinated search and located the suspect fishing boat 10-15 km inside Indian waters. Thereafter, a Coast Guard ship on patrol was diverted and it intercepted the unlit boat around midnight, 365 km west-southwest of Porbandar.
However, there was no information on how the illegal transaction was to take place.
The statement said, “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 move 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.
Because of 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 the early hours of January 1.