Oct 15, 2013, 10:51 AM
News Code: 80860996
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ICG detains US ship for suspicious movement in Indian waters

New Delhi, Oct 15, IRNA - With Indian Coast Guard (ICG) detaining an American ship for suspicious movement in Indian waters, Deputy National Security Advisor Nehchal Sandhu Monday said law will take its own course but remained non-committal on handing over the case to NIA for probe.

Security forces have seized 31 assault rifles and around 5,000 rounds of ammunition from the ship detained off Tuticorin coast in Tamil Nadu state, from 35 persons on board including four Indian ex Army and Navy personnel.

The vessel, MV Seaman Guard Ohio, whose crew included eight Indians, was intercepted and detained by the Indian Coast Guard on Saturday, pti reported. An FIR has been registered against 10 crew members and 25 guards of the detained ship by the Tamil Nadu Marine Police for illegally carrying arms and ammunition.

Besides, a case under the Essential Commodities Act has been registered for buying 1,500 litres of diesel illegally with the help of a local shipping agent.

On the possibility of handing over the probe to National Investigation Agency, Sandhu told reporters, "We don't know the details. But a report has been sought. We will look into this".

Sandhu, a former chief of Intelligence Bureau, said piracy has increased in international waters and civil maritime operations have employed private maritime security companies against pirates.

A senior Marine Police official said the ship, stated to be belonging to a US-based firm offering maritime security, was not authorised to enter the Indian waters and its mandate was largely confined to regions in the Indian Ocean like the Gulf of Aden, a hotbed of piracy.

The ship has 10 crew members, comprising two Ukranians and eight Indians. It also has 25 security guards (6 British, 14 Estonian, 1 Ukranian and 4 Indians).

This is the second time in the last two months that the ship has been detained by the Coast Guard. However, nothing suspicious was found there and the ship was let off.