Indian Coast Guard Busts Diesel Smuggling Operation Off Maharashtra Coast, Apprehends Fishing Boat With Illegal Currency

Mumbai News: Indian Coast Guard Busts Diesel Smuggling Operation Off Maharashtra Coast, Apprehends Fishing Boat With Illegal Currency

Indian Coast Guard Regional Headquarters launched an operation based on tip off from customs and apprehended an Indian fishing boat 83 Nm northwest Off Mumbai on 15 Apr 24.  The fishing boat was allegedly reported to be involved in smuggling of diesel and carrying unauthorized amount of Foreign/Indian currency. 

The operation which involved a sustained search operation during challenging night conditions amidst considerable fishing and merchant traffic covered an area of 200 square miles including the offshore development areas off Maharashtra coast. 

ICG Details Vessel’s Modifications And False Identities In Diesel Smuggling Attempt

In a seamlessly coordinated operation which involved search by  02 ICG Fast Patrol Vessel (FPVs) and one Interceptor Boat carried out boarding operations and located the suspected board in the night of 15 Apr 24. The boat with 05 crew departed Mandwa port at about 2000 hrs on 14 Apr 24 to effect rendezvous with suspected Indian offshore supply vessels with an intent to smuggle diesel.

Thorough rummaging of the vessel revealed the boat was operating with modified holds to store fuel up to 20000 liters and operating with false/multiple identities. Correlation with available data on the suspect boat indicated multiple discrepancies in vessel registration also. The rummaging operation and admission by the tandel revealed carriage of INR 11 lakh 46 thousand which was meant to be given to some Indian OSV operating from Offshore Areas in return of smuggled diesel. 

Joint Investigation Underway After Indian Coast Guard Apprehends Smuggling Vessel

The vessel was brought to Mumbai anchorage in the early hours of Wednesday. A joint investigation with DRI, Customs, SIB and State police is being carried out to trace the linkages and further legal actions by respective agencies. It is expected that post thorough investigation and legal proceedings, more linkages and involvement of syndicates having deep roots cannot be ruled out. 

Indian Coast Guard’s sustained operations and challenging successful apprehensions have deterred such syndicates and underlined the coordinated efforts of various agencies. The successful apprehension also underlines ICG as credible maritime law enforcement agency in combating illegal activities such as currency/diesel smuggling at sea. 

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