New Delhi: A few hours after a boat carrying weapons found off the Raigad coast in Maharashtra on Thursday raised alarms, officials allayed the fears as they confirmed that there was no security threat. The boat, with three AK-47 rifles and bullets, was spotted by some locals who alerted the security.
The 16-metre-long yacht is owned by an Australian woman whose husband was its captain. A life boat from the yacht was also found on the coast of Bharadkhol. “The name of the vessel is Lady Han and it is owned by Hana Lordorgan, an Australian woman. The woman’s husband James Hobert was the captain of the vessel which was going to Europe from Muscat,” said Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
While the discovery of weapons created panic as Dahi Handi and Ganesh festivals draw near, Fadnavis said no terror angle has been found so far.
However, according to officials, the boat’s crew members had been rescued in June this year near the Oman coast. Later, the boat drifted and reached the Harihareshwar beach in Raigad.
On receiving the complaint, Raigad Superintendent of Police Ashok Dudhe and other senior officials rushed to the spot and searched the boat. While the weapons were found on the boat, PTI cited a Coast Guard official saying there was no security threat. Meanwhile, the police were conducting further investigation.
The yacht which was sailing from Oman to Europe is registered in UK. On June 26, it had sent out a distress call and people onboard were rescued by ships in the vicinity of Muscat, the official said.
As some small arms of the AK series were found, the arms vendor was contacted. The vendor confirmed that the serial numbers of the weapons found onboard matched with the ones missing from their inventory.
“Since a yacht moves slowly, it is permitted to carry small weapons. When the people onboard abandoned the boat, they did not carry the weapons with them,” the official said.
Later, the boat drifted and grounded ashore. The official said the yacht was badly damaged and partly submerged after being battered by the monsoon winds.
(With PTI inputs)