Spooking the people, reminding them of the 26/11 attack where terrorists had arrived from Pakistan using a boat, locals and then security personnel found a boat off the Raigad coast in Maharashtra today, carrying three AK-47 rifles and bullets. Officials said that this posed no security threat. According to them, the crew members of this boat had been rescued in June near the Oman coast. It later drifted and grounded ashore, a Coast Guard official said.
According to Maharashtra home ministry officials, the name of the said boat is Ladyhan and its owner is a woman, Hana Lordorgan, an Australian citizen. Her husband James Hobert is the captain of the said boat and this boat was going to Europe from Muscat, dated 26 June at 10.00 AM.
Official response to mysterious boat spotting
The state government said in a statement, "The boat's engine failed and the sailors called for help (at) 13.00 hrs. A Korean warship rescued the sailors from the boat and handed them over to Oman. The boat Ladyhan could not be towed as the sea was rough. The information received from the Indian Coast Guard is that the boat is stranded on the Harihareshwar coast due to the undercurrent of the sea."
"Both the local police and the anti-terrorist squad are investigating the incident and all the police units have been ordered to be alert in view of the upcoming festivals. The Indian Coast Guard and central agencies are in constant contact and further investigations are being carried out closely," it said.
The boat was first spotted by the locals in the Shrivardhan area, located more than 190 km from Mumbai. They alerted the security agencies. The boat had no crew member. Raigad Superintendent of Police Ashok Dudhe and other senior officials rushed the spot and searched the boat.
A Coast Guard official said there is no security threat. "It is a UK registered yacht which was sailing from Oman to Europe. It had given a distress call and people onboard were rescued by ships in the vicinity of Muscat on 26 June," the official said. The yacht also carried some small arms of the AK series, he said. The authorities have contacted the arms vendor after the serial numbers of the weapons found onboard matched those missing from the vendor's inventory, the official said.
"Since a yacht moves slowly, it is permitted to carry small weapons. When the people on board abandoned the boat, they did not carry the weapons with them," the official said. Later, the boat drifted and grounded ashore. The official said the yacht was badly damaged and partly submerged after being battered by the monsoon winds.
What Maharashtra Dy CM Devendra Fadnavis said
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, "There is no confirmation of any terror angle. The boat has just drifted here. We are not ruling out anything, investigating all aspects. Police have been asked to be on high alert." "Three AK 47 rifles were found on the boat. The boat in a half-broken condition came towards Kokan coast due to high tide. Central agencies have been informed. No possibilities of any consequences would be taken lightly: Maharashtra Dy CM Devendra Fadnavis. ATS is also working on it. The additional force will also be deployed if necessary. All the precautions needed to be taken as per the norms of abandoned caution situation have been taken: Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis," he noted.
"The boat belongs to an Australian citizen. The boat's engine broke out in the sea, people were rescued by a Korean boat. It has now reached Harihareshwar beach. Keeping in mind the coming festive season, police & administration have been instructed to be prepared," he said.