Indian shipping company threatens legal action

LONDON, DEC. 27. The Indian shipping company, whose cargo ship was intercepted in the English Channel by anti-terrorist officers last week, has threatened legal action against the police.

The MV Nisha was seized on Friday after a tip-off that it was carrying terrorist material, but nothing suspicious was found and it was given an all-clear after a thorough search spread over five days.

Mr. Sudhir Mulji, chairman of the Great Eastern Shipping Company which owns the vessel, criticised the search. He told the BBC's Today programme that he did not think terrorists would have had enough time to plant anything on the ship.

``The ship was not scheduled to come to England until November 6. The terrorists would have had to have moved incredibly fast,'' he said, and pointed out that Scotland Yard would have discovered the timescale ``by just asking in England...The ship belongs to a British company, it's chartered in England, the brokers are all English - it was just a question of asking someone.''

Scotland Yard declined to comment, the BBC said. The vessel, carrying 26,000 tons of raw sugar to a refinery in East London, had stopped in Djibouti, next to Somalia, which has been linked with the terror group raising suspicion, according to the police.