A SPEED boat used for patrolling in the Hooghly River caught fire on Tuesday morning, triggering panic in the area.
The boat, which was hired by the Navy, caught fire when stationed near Princep Ghat in Kolkata at around 7.10 am. Two fire tenders were pressed into service to bring the blaze under control. The cause of fire is to be ascertained, said fire officials.
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Sources said a boat on patrolling duty saw sparks emanating from the speed boat. While sources said two persons were injured in the incident, officials said they were not from the Navy. The injured could have been maintenance staff of the Mumbai-based contractor, said officials.
A statement issued by the Navy later in the day stated: “The boat does not belong to Navy. It is hired by Navy for patrolling the river. Naval persons are on board only at the time of patrolling. The operation and maintenance of the boat lies solely with the contractor. When the fire took place today, there was no naval person on board.”
“We are not suspecting any foul play or sabotage,” S S Birdi, Wing Commander and spokesperson of the Defence Ministry said.
Sources said the Navy is trying to replace the damaged boat so that patrolling remains unaffected during the festive season.