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Iranian ship intercepted by navy off Mumbai

Iranian ship intercepted by navy off Mumbai, reaches Porbander.The navy has captured a 'hijacked' Iranian flagged cargo vessel, with nine persons on board, off the Mumbai coast following intelligence inputs that it may be carrying arms, ammunition and contraband, officials said today. Nafis-1, captured was brought to Porbander in Gujarat and the nine men on board are being interrogated. "Various intelligence agencies including the naval intelligence are conducting a joint interrogation of the persons who were found on board," Porbander SP Dipen Bhadran told PTI. Defence spokesperson Manohar Nambiar said in Mumbai that the vessel, suspected to have been hijacked, had five Yemenis, two Tanzanians and a Kenyan and a Somalian on board. Upon search, two AK-47 rifles and a pistol were recovered from the ship. It was not yet clear whether all the nine men were the crew members, or all of them were pirates, or only some of them pirates and other crew-members. All of them had been detained, officials said. The 500-tonne general cargo vessel was detected on Friday, at a distance of about 250 nautical miles, by Indian Naval Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft 'IL 38 SD' which was on a surveillance mission in the East Arabian sea. Intelligence inputs suggested that the vessel had sailed from Chah Bahar in Iran for an unknown location in July. INS Mysore, a guided missile destroyer, was sent to intercept the vessel, along with two helicopters and 24 marine commandos (MARCOS). Despite adverse weather conditions and rough sea, INS Mysore launched a swift and co-ordinated operation and there was no resistance from anybody on the vessel, officials said. INS Mysore later towed the vessel to Porbander. In earlier incidents, Gujarat marine police in Junagadh and Jamnagar had captured 32 Somalian pirates in separate operations in June.

Date: 16 Aug 2011                                                                    Source: Deccan Herald

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