Navy, Coast Guard intercept runaway ship

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

MUMBAI - The Indian Navy and Coast Guard Tuesday intercepted a runaway Panamanian merchant ship that had slipped out of Mumbai Port Monday after defaulting on a cargo delivery despite taking part payment, officials said.

The Indian Navy and Coast Guard joint operation followed a request from the Mumbai Police that had registered a complaint against the Panamanian vessel, MV Dynamic Striker, which had slipped out of the port without delivering a promised cargo of coal from Croatia.

A defence spokesperson said that after sneaking out of Mumbai, the ship had shut down all its communication networks. It was only after the Indian Navy fired a warning shot in front of the ship that it switched on the communications networks and complied with the orders of the Indian authorities.

Later, the MV Dynamic Striker was ordered to return to Mumbai Port under escort by INS Agray, which handed her over to ICG ship Amrit Kaur.

Earlier, a sea and air hunt was launched for the ship following a complaint registered with the Mumbai Police.

“A Coast Guard ship set sail and a Dornier aircraft was flown to track the ship. The navy also diverted its warship INS Agray to search and intercept the ship,” a navy spokesperson said.

The complaint was lodged Monday with the Yellowgate Police Station by Ispat Industries of the Mittal Group, which had ordered around 35,000 tonnes of steel worth several millions of dollars from Croatia.

The consignment arrived in Mumbai Port Oct 29 and was awaiting the payment and unloading instructions.

However, the payment was delayed by the company for some reasons, though it made two part payments - one of $9 million and another of $7 million.

The ships captain demanded more money since it had already incurred huge expenses after remaining off the Mumbai coast for so many days and the cargo had not been unloaded.

On Monday afternoon, Mittal group authorities were informed that the ship had become unstable and needed to be anchored at another location and moved from there at 4.15 p.m.

But after nearly an hour, there was no trace of the ship, forcing the Mittal group to lodge a police complaint.

The police swung into action by alerting the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard, which finally intercepted the ship from the high seas nearly 24 hours after it had fled.

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