In a mid-sea operation that probably averted a 26/11-like terror attack, a suspected Pakistani fishing boat carrying explosives was intercepted by the Coast Guards in the Arabian Sea but the four occupants on board set the vessel afire and exploded it before it sank with them.
The incident, which resembled the operation undertaken by terrorists from Karachi who had come in a boat before they launched their dreaded attack in Mumbai in Novermber, 2008, took place during the midnight of Dec 31 and Jan 1 when the Coast Guard spotted the vessel about 8 km inside the Indian waters on the maritime boundary with Pakistan.
An intelligence-based midnight operation was conducted by the Coast Guard ships and aircraft to intercept the suspect fishing boat, approximately 365 km off Porbander in Gujarat, on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 after a hot pursuit.
There was information that the fishing boat from Keti Bunder near Karachi was planning some illicit transaction in Arabian Sea, a statement by the Defence Ministry said today.
Based on the information, a Coast Guard Dornier aircraft undertook sea-air coordinated search and located the suspect fishing boat.
Thereafter, the Coast Guard ship on patrol in the area was diverted and intercepted the unlit boat at about midnight of December 31 in a position 365 km west-south west off Porbandar.