Vessel seized off Mumbai harbour

Mumbai, April 4 (IANS) A small shipping vessel suspected to be involved in smuggling activities was seized off Mumbai harbour early Thursday, officials said.

Manned by a five-member crew, ‘MSV Yusufi’, a dhow, arrived from Dubai and was bound for Hay Bunder in south Mumbai.

Acting on an intelligence tip-off, the Indian Coast Guard and navy had kept their patrol ships and an aircraft ready to intercept the vessel that was in touch with one Usma in Dubai who had sent the goods to Mumbai.

“The dhow was using the banned ‘Thuraya’ system to communicate with handlers in Dubai and India,” an Indian Coast Guard official said adding that the communication equipment was thrown overboard by the crew when they saw a patrol ship approaching.

Goats, foreign cigarettes, mobile accessories and a television set were found on board during a search of the vessel. Police are interrogating the crew.

This is the second such incident reported in the past 48 hours, officials said.

On Wednesday, customs authorities investigated a cargo ship, Bruno Schulte, in the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, suspected to be transporting “hazardous” goods.

Some hazardous chemicals carried by the ship were reportedly unloaded in China before it was allowed to resume its onward voyage.

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