NEW DELHI: The Indian Coast Guard has successfully averted a major drug transhipment in the Lakshadweep Sea by intercepting three Sri Lankan ships.
The case said to be a bigger success than the November 2020 incident when another boat from Sri Lanka with a consignment of about 1000 crore was apprehended.
The Coast Guard (CG) informed on Sunday that they force intercepted three boats with 19 crew members at 07 Nautical Miles (NM) off Minicoy Island suspected of carrying contraband, in a sea-air coordinated operation.
Sharing the details Coast Guard said, “CG ships and aircraft while on patrol off the Lakshadweep islands observed suspicious movements of three Sri Lankan fishing boats. The boats were continuously monitored by the CG units and were subsequently intercepted and checked at the opportune moment".
Due to rough sea conditions off Minicoy Islands, the boats were brought to Vizhinjam near Thiruvananthapuram on March 7 for further interrogation by the concerned security agencies.
Initial investigations revealed that Sri Lanka Fishing Boat (SLFB) Akarsha Duwa was at sea for longer duration of over a fortnight. “As the crew were giving misleading statements, they were interrogated tactfully upon which the crew admitted having been involved in smuggling of narcotics/contraband," said Coast Guard.
While en-route, the crew noticed the presence of Indian Coast Guard ships and aircraft in the area and the crew decided to flee the area. “However, on realizing that fleeing was impossible, they dropped five bags of contraband weighing around 260 kg of in the water. The value of these narcotics in the international market is approximately Rs 2100 crore, added CG.
When enquired about the contraband, the Coast Guard Public Relations Officer said the search for it is in progress.
As per the CG, post rummaging and joint investigation at Vizhinjam, SLFB Akarsha Duwa along with 6 Sri Lankan crew were detained for final investigation. Two other Sri Lankan boats with the crew were released for handing over to the authorities for further investigation due to a considerable quantity of fish stock onboard.