New Delhi: At about 2100 hrs on 19 May 2019, intelligencewas received of a suspicious vessel likely to be engaged in drug trafficking in area off Indo-Pak International Maritime Border Line (IMBL) off the Gujarat Coast. Similar inputs were also received from Directorate of Revenue Intelligence on 20 May 2019.
Indian Coast Guard immediately swung into action and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) Ship Arinjay on patrol off Indo-Pak IMBL was alerted about the suspect vessel. Two additional Interceptor Boats C-437 and C-408 were also tasked from Jakhau and Okha to augment the search for the suspect vessel. ICG Dornier aircraft was also launched from Porbandar on 20 and 21 May 2019 for aerial recce in the area.
Coast Guard Ships and aircraft maintained extensive search in the area for intercepting the suspect vessel. ICG ships classified various contacts in the area and kept them under constant surveillance. During search one fishing boat was observed to be suspicious and Coast Guard ships in area shadowed the suspect vessel during the dark hours of 20 May 2019 night.
The suspect vessel with first light on 21 May 19 crossed the IMBL towards Indian side and started moving towards the Jakhau coast. The suspect vessel Al Madina was kept under surveillance and intercepted at about 0915hrs on 21 May 2019 about 08 NM inside Indian waters off IMBL by ICG ship Arinjay.
During boarding the vessel was found to be a Pakistani Fishing Boat Al Madina registered at Karachi with 06 Pakistani crew. Initial search of the fishing boat by Indian Coast Guard boarding party revealed 194 packets of suspected narcotics substance. The vessel is being escorted to Jakhau harbour for detailed investigation and rummaging.
Recently during a similar operation on 24 March 2019, ICG ship Rajratan in joint operation with ATS, Gujarat seized about 100 Kgs of heroin from a suspected Pakistani Dhow off the coast of Gujarat apprehending 09 Iranian crew of the vessel.
Indian Coast Guard Director General Rajendra Singh said that the Coast Guard has been at the forefront in anti-narcotics and anti-smuggling operations and since inception has seized contraband worth of more than Rs. 5000 crores.