Fishing Vessel ‘Intrusion’ Is Similar To That On 26/11; Concerns Raised Over Security Lapses

Fishing Vessel ‘Intrusion’ Is Similar To That On 26/11; Concerns Raised Over Security Lapses

The 30-metre long Arab fishing trawler was at sea for 10 days, carrying on board three Indian crew escaping from their employer in Kuwait, using GPS to reach Mumbai

Dharmesh ThakkarUpdated: Thursday, February 08, 2024, 11:26 AM IST
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Fishing Vessel ‘Intrusion’ Is Similar To That On 26/11; Concerns Raised Over Security Lapses | FPJ

The three Tamil fishermen detained by Mumbai Police for illegal entry into Mumbai Harbour on a Kuwaiti fishing trawler, Abdullah Sharif, on Tuesday, were charged under the Passport Act and produced in the metropolitan magistrate court and remanded in police custody till Saturday. The intrusion of the foreign fishing vessel without detection, similar to 26/11 Mumbai Terror attacks, has raised major security concerns of lapses in monitoring the seas for unidentified vessels entering Mumbai Harbour.

The 30-metre long Arab fishing trawler was at sea for 10 days, carrying on board three Indian crew escaping from their employer in Kuwait, using GPS to reach Mumbai. The fishing vessel traversed the IranKuwait territorial waters to cross Saudi Arabia and was briefly detained by the Qatar Marine Police for a few hours, then released to continue their voyage to Dubai and into Indian waters towards Mumbai.

How the fishing trawler reached Mumbai Harbour

The ease with which the fishing trawler reached Mumbai Harbour, just four nautical miles from the Gateway of India has raised alarms in the Indian security establishment, over the multiple failures of the Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Coastal Police patrolling the western coast to detect and intercept the intruder. “The rising conflicts in the Red Sea and their spillover into the Arabian Sea have resulted in multiple drone attacks and hijacking attempts on merchant vessels on the west coast.

Frontline warship patrols and aerial reconnaissance have been enchanced to monitor the west coast, to prevent a repeat of the 26/11 attacks. The foreign fishing vessel reaching Mumbai undetected is a major security lapse,’’ explained a senior police officer.

What the court remand states

While the court remand states that the police crew of the Mumbai Police patrol boat ‘Chaitrali’ of the Yellow Gate police station had intercepted the foreign fishing vessel off Prongs Lighthouse, four nautical miles off the Gateway of India, the Indian Navy insisted it was the naval patrol boats that had intercepted the suspect vessel and handed over to the police for further action.

'Mumbai Police had inspected the fishing vessel'

The court remand further added that the bomb detection and disposal squad of the Mumbai Police had inspected the fishing vessel and did not find any explosives onboard the foreign trawler anchored off Apollo Bunder. Police seized the GPS instrument being used by the fishermen for analysis, to obtain further clarity on the route taken by the fishing vessel from Kuwait to India.

The trio of Tamilian fishermen all from Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, had found employment with a Kuwait based fish trader, Abdullah Mohammed Abdul Rehman Al Sarhid, and had not been paid for the last two years. They alleged ill-treatment and said their passports had been forcibly seized by their employer, prompting them to escape to India in the fishing vessel.

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