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Indian Coast Guard Apprehends Fishing Boat Involved in Diesel Smuggling Off Mumbai Coast

Mumbai: The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has intercepted an Indian fishing boat suspected of carrying unauthorized cash and engaging in the smuggling of diesel, approximately 83 nautical miles northwest off the coast of Mumbai. Acting on intelligence provided by Customs officials, the ICG Regional Headquarters (West) launched a comprehensive operation, navigating through challenging night conditions amidst significant fishing and merchant traffic spanning an area of 200 square miles, including offshore development areas along the Maharashtra coast.

In a meticulously coordinated effort involving two ICG Fast Patrol Vessels and one Interceptor Boat, the suspected fishing vessel was located and boarded on the night of April 15, 2024. Initial investigations revealed that the vessel, crewed by five individuals, had departed from Mandwa port on April 14, 2024, with the intention of rendezvousing with suspected Indian Offshore Supply Vessels (OSVs) for the purpose of smuggling diesel. Further scrutiny uncovered that the vessel had been equipped with modified holds capable of storing up to 20,000 litres of fuel, and was operating under false or multiple identities. Discrepancies in vessel registration were also detected upon correlation with available data.

Moreover, the operation uncovered a significant cache of Rs 11.46 lakh onboard, believed to be intended for payment to certain Indian OSVs operating offshore in exchange for smuggled diesel.

The apprehended vessel was escorted to the Mumbai anchorage in the early hours of April 17, 2024. A collaborative investigation involving the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Customs, and State Police is currently underway to unravel the intricate linkages and determine further legal actions to be taken by the respective agencies.

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