Customs, NCB interrogate ship’s crew members

In the intervening night of Thursday and Friday, 22 kg cocaine valued at about Rs 220 crore was found in 22 packets which were affixed to a crane with magnets in MV Debi.
Sniffer dog Reshmi deployed in the vessel. (Photo | Express)
Sniffer dog Reshmi deployed in the vessel. (Photo | Express)

PARADIP/BHUBANESWAR: A day after 22 kg cocaine was seized from a Denmark-bound ship at Paradip Port’s international cargo terminal, the Customs authorities on Saturday interrogated the crew of vessel MV Debi suspecting their role in the smuggling.

The ship which was registered in Panama had 21 crew members, including the captain, onboard. All of them are from Vietnam. Sources in the Customs Department said the captain of the ship was beyond suspicion. He was the one who flagged the matter and intimated the terminal chief about the suspicious packets. Of the 21 crew members, 15 are permanent staff. Except for the captain, no other member was able to communicate in English which posed a challenge.

MV Debi had reportedly begun from Egypt and its last port of call was Gresik in Indonesia. Gresik is a small port and Customs officials suspect that is where the cocaine packets may have found its way into the ship which had no CCTV cameras.

“MV Debi was directly headed to Denmark without any stoppage from Paradip. There was no plan for its anchorage at any place which prompts us to believe the narcotics drug was destined for Denmark,” sources said.

On the day, a team headed by Customs Commissioner Madhab Chandra Mishra interrogated the crew while it was assisted by a squad of the Narcotics Control Bureau from Bhubaneswar. A sniffer dog named Reshmi which is trained in narcotics search was also deployed in the vessel. In the intervening night of Thursday and Friday, 22 kg cocaine valued at about `220 crore was found in 22 packets which were affixed to a crane with magnets in MV Debi.

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