Indian Coast Guard intercepts largest ever haul of narcotics off Gujarat coast

Sakal Times
Monday, 31 July 2017

Pune: The Coast Guard, on Sunday, made its largest ever narcotics seizure of 1,500 kg of heroine worth Rs 3,500 crore from a merchant vessel, MV Hennry. The vessel was registered in Panama and was carrying eight crew members on board with nil registered cargo.

Pune: The Coast Guard, on Sunday, made its largest ever narcotics seizure of 1,500 kg of heroine worth Rs 3,500 crore from a merchant vessel, MV Hennry. The vessel was registered in Panama and was carrying eight crew members on board with nil registered cargo.

The operation lasted for three hours. According to the Coast Guard, a technical intelligence input was received from National Technical Research Organization on Thursday, which suggested the presence of an Iranian cargo vessel, Prince-II, about 210 miles west of Porbandar. The vessel was reportedly carrying a large consignment of drugs including heroine and chitta and was heading for the next port of call in Gujarat.

The Coast Guard was intimated that Prince-II is likely to make a landing in Jamnagar in the Gulf of Kutch or Bhavnagar in the Gulf of Khambat. After receiving the input, the ICG operation centres at Porbandar, Gandhi Nagar and Mumbai were activated. Coast Guard ships in the area were alerted and Dornier aircraft performed sorties for maritime air reconaissance. The electronic surveillance along Gujarat coast was put on high alert.  

The radar outstations of Porbandar, Dwarka, Navadra, Mangrol, Diu, Hazira and Gopnath were searching for any suspected vessel.

On Friday, the air surveillance narrowed down on two inbound cargo vessels, which were emanating from the reference location with identity issues. Coast Guard intercepted both the vessels, which were identified as MSV Al-Amir and Noor-e-Shabbir, who were on a passage to Jal Salaya. The ships were deatined at Okha port for investigation.

A Coast Guard official on condition of anonymity said, “The two vessels were detained at Okha port and another vessel was circled by the Coast Guard aircraft in the sea off the Gulf of Khambat. 

The vessel was identified as suspicious, as it was not recognised on Automatic Identification Sytem (AIS). In the wee hours of Saturday, ICGS Samudra Pavak intercepted the suspicious vessel, which was identified as ‘Hennry’. The suspicious vessel was supposed to call at Bhavnagar port for calling at Alang. However, when we checked about it with authorities of the Vessel Traffic Management System(VTMS) and Gujarat Maritime Board at Khambat, we came to know that no such vessel was expected at port,” added the Coast Guard official.

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