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In the largest single haul of narcotics, the Indian Coast Guard seized 1,500 kg heroin, valued around Rs 3,500 crore, from a Panama-registered vessel, officials said Sunday. According to the officials, the vessel, Henry, with eight crew members, was intercepted in the mid-sea in the early hours of Saturday by Coast Guard’s ship Samudra Pavak. When the crew members were quizzed, the ship master claimed that he had no necessary document as the vessel was being taken to Alang to be broken down.
The vessel was subsequently detained and tugged to Porbandar port on Sunday where authorities during its inspection found the narcotics. The officials said Intelligence inputs were received on July 17 for another ship, which was around 338 km west of Porbandar, but not inside the Indian waters.
This vessel was expected to dock somewhere between Jamnagar and Bhavnagar on Saurashtra coast. To track this ship, the Coast Guard Centres at Mumbai, Gandhinagar and Porbandar alerted and also Dornier aircraft made sorties. During this operation, a Dornier aircraft sanitising the area near Gulf of Khambhat picked up Henry, which was not recognised on the automatic identification system and marked suspicious.
Soon, Samudra Pavak was diverted to intercept the vessel. The Coast Guard, Intelligence Bureau, police, customs, Navy and other agencies are further probing into the seizure.