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i-maritime news letter

Coastal States put on alert over ‘ship carrying arms' - 2012-01-09

A telephone call from a ship off the Kutch coast to the US about an arms consignment has set alarm bells ringing in the security establishment, which have alerted the Navy and Coast Guard about possible arrival of arms and ammunition along the Indian coastline.

All the coastal States, including Gujarat and Maharashtra, have been asked to step up patrolling in the sea and keep an eye on illegal activities, official sources said here.

The security agencies believe that terrorists may try to replicate the 26/11 terror attack. The 2008 attack in Mumbai was carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists using the sea route from Pakistan.

The alert came following the interception of a telephone call on December 31 by a Central security agency, in which an unidentified person made a call through Thuraya satellite from a ship, which was at that time at Gulf of Kutch, around 8 km from the Gujarat coast, to a US number.

During the 232-second English conversation, the receiver enquired about the precise maritime location of the ship, consignment of the weapons, nature of the customs patrol etc, the sources said.

Acting on the information, the Centre has asked Coast Guard and Navy to intensify patrolling along coastline and high seas, check movement of ships and monitor fishing trawlers.

The security agencies suspect it to be an international gun-running operation and alerted all agencies concerned to take necessary steps to stop any such consignment.

Source: Hindu Business Line