The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has apprehended an Indian fishing boat carrying unauthorised cash, reported to be involved in the smuggling of diesel, 83 nm northwest off Mumbai. Based on a tip off from Customs, the ICG Regional Headquarters (West) launched an operation, involving a sustained search during challenging night conditions amidst considerable fishing and merchant traffic covering an area of 200 square miles including offshore development areas off the Maharashtra coast. 

In a coordinated operation comprising a search by two ICG Fast Patrol Vessels and one Interceptor Boat, the suspected boat was located and boarded on the night of April 15, 2024. Preliminary investigation revealed that the boat, with five crew, departed Mandwa port on April 14, 2024, to effect rendezvous with suspected Indian Offshore Supply Vessels (OSV) with an intent to smuggle diesel. It was found out that the boat was operating with modified holds to store fuel up to 20,000 litres and operating with false/multiple identities. Correlation with available data on the suspect boat indicated multiple discrepancies in vessel registration. The operation also revealed a carriage of Rs 11.46 lakh which was meant to be given to some Indian OSV operating from offshore areas in return of smuggled diesel. 

 The vessel was brought to the Mumbai anchorage in the early hours of April 17, 2024. A joint investigation with Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Customs, and State Police is being carried out to trace the linkages and further legal actions by respective agencies.


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