Raigad gun scare: AK 47, ammo found on boat; Maharashtra on high alert

The boat was abandoned near Harihareshwar beach in Raigad, the police are on a manhunt.

Somendra Sharma Amit SrivastavaUpdated: Friday, August 19, 2022, 07:51 PM IST

A high alert was sounded after a 16-metre accident-stricken yacht carrying a box with three AK-47 rifles, ammunition and some documents was found at Harihareshwar beach in Raigad on Thursday morning.

Intensified probe through the day revealed that the yacht, named Lady Han, was presumed to be sunk near Oman, on its way from Muscat to Europe on June 26, after it encountered bad weather at sea. The owner couple, Australians Hannah Londergan and James Hobert, was rescued by a Korean navy ship, which had responded to the SOS.

After it drifted ashore in Raigad on Thursday morning, the state police machinery began looking for a terror angle, especially as Maharashtra has witnessed sea-route entries of terrorists in 1993 and 2008. Road blocks were imposed at several points across Thane and Mumbai on Thursday, with the police checking for any clues of security threat.

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG), Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) were pressed into action. Officials also set out to probe the antecedents of Neptune Maritime Security, whose sticker was found on the rifle box on the yacht.

In the state assembly, which is sitting for the monsoon session, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde announced a probe, even as Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that there is no terror angle.

After being contacted by the Indian authorities, the Neptune P2P Group issued a statement. As per the security group, in June 2022, it provided private security on Lady Han, which was later damaged in the Arabian Sea, causing the captain (James Hobert) to declare an emergency. While the crew were rescued, the yacht was unable to be salvaged due to extreme weather conditions.

As per the statement, the firm is now working with the owner of the vessel and the Indian and UK authorities to determine the official recovery procedures of the vessel and controlled items.

On their website, the Neptune P2P Group states that it provides superyacht security solutions, as large and luxurious vessels depict perceived wealth and opulence and it can often make them and their crews and passengers highly attractive to organised criminals and pirates. “Our experienced and qualified Maritime Security Teams are all former military and are supported by our 24/7 operations and support centre,” the company states on its website.

"Because of the bad weather, the yacht could not be towed and the said yacht then drifted and reached Harihareshwar coast, as per the information provided by the ICG. The said incident is being thoroughly investigated by the local police and the ATS and in the event of the coming festivals, all police departments have been asked to remain alert," the statement added.

After the news of the yacht got spread, the Neptune Group on Thursday issued a statement saying, "In June 2022, Neptune P2P Group provided private security on the vessel ‘MY Lady Han’. The yacht was damaged during a monsoon in the Arabian Sea, causing the Captain to declare an emergency. While the crew were rescued, the yacht was unable to be salvaged due to the extreme weather conditions. Earlier this morning, Neptune P2P Group were made aware that the vessel, which was presumed sunk, had washed up on Indian shores. Neptune P2P Group is working with the owner of the vessel and the Indian and UK authorities to determine the official recovery procedures of the vessel and controlled items."

Owned and operated by British and French former Special Forces, the Neptune P2P Group on its website stated that they provide superyacht security solutions as large and luxurious vessels depict perceived wealth and opulence and it can often make them and their crews and passengers highly attractive to organised criminals and pirates. "Our experienced and qualified Maritime Security Teams (MST) are all former Military and are supported by our 24/7 Operations and Support Centre," the company stated on its website.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

Mumbai: High Court to get 6 new judges; working strength of HC judges now at 67

Mumbai: High Court to get 6 new judges; working strength of HC judges now at 67

Marathi signboards: BMC to take action against defaulters from Monday

Marathi signboards: BMC to take action against defaulters from Monday

Navi Mumbai: Motorbike driver booked for rash driving causing death of old man

Navi Mumbai: Motorbike driver booked for rash driving causing death of old man

Shinde camp zeroes in on sword, Thackeray faction favours Gada (Mace) if EC freezes bow & arrow

Shinde camp zeroes in on sword, Thackeray faction favours Gada (Mace) if EC freezes bow & arrow

Central Railway registers ticket checking revenue of Rs 163.27 Cr in April-Sep 2022

Central Railway registers ticket checking revenue of Rs 163.27 Cr in April-Sep 2022