Floating armouries can lead to 26/11-type attack: Navy chief



Floating armouries can lead to 26/11-type attack: Navy chief
The Navy chief was talking on the issue against the backdrop of seizure of the American floating armoury MV Seaman Guard Ohio off the coast of Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu.
NEW DELHI: Unregulated floating private armouries carrying combatants of certain countries are a matter of concern and can have serious security implications for the country including infiltration of terrorists that can lead to 26/11-type attacks, Navy chief Admiral D K Joshi warned on Tuesday.

Addressing the annual Navy Day press conference, he also sought a "reversal" of high risk areas for merchant ships plying in the piracy prone zones, saying such an extension in these zones has resulted in incidents such as the killing of four Indian fishermen by Italian marines near Kerala coast.

"Floating armoury is a matter of very serious concern. This is entirely unregulated... This has very serious security implications for us including the infiltration of terrorists.

"...If there are unregulated arms and ammunition on a vessel, the existence of weapons is not known as also where guards are transferring them and this could lead to such a situation on anybody's soil," Joshi said when asked if unregulated floating armouries can lead to a 26/11 attack.

The Navy chief was talking on the issue against the backdrop of seizure of the American floating armoury MV Seaman Guard Ohio off the coast of Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu.

He said the government has also received reports about the presence of "combatants from some countries who on a temporary basis take up these employments and become private armed guards."

Asked if he meant that these combatants are from Pakistan, Joshi skirted a direct response, saying, "I am referring to what I am referring to."

He said over the years, these armouries providing escort to the merchant vessels plying in piracy prone areas have become a "loose-knit structure" and the "unregulated manner these ships are operating, there is no track of which ship is coming and what guards it has, what arms does it have and where they are going."

He said like the merchant vessels operating under the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) framework, these floating armouries have to be brought under the regulation and all the littoral states must be aware of the identity of such ships, the number of weapons and guards present on them.

US ship crew arrest: UK seeks consular access to six British nationals

[SHOWS BRITISH COMPLICITY TO CAUSE UNREST IN TAMIL AREAS OF India 

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  SRI LANKA]



by Deepshikha Ghosh | Updated: October 18, 2013 13:17 IST
US ship crew arrest: UK seeks consular access to six British nationals
American ship MV Seaman, detained off Tamil Nadu coast for illegally carrying arms
Chennai The Tamil Nadu police have arrested 35 crew members of an American ship detained almost a week ago for illegally entering Indian waters with a huge cache of arms and ammunition.

The MV Seaman Guard Ohio owned by US maritime security company AdvanFort was intercepted by the Coast Guard east of Tuticorin on Saturday.

Its crew includes eight Indians, besides British, Estonian and Ukranian nationals. Sources say there are no Americans on the ship.

UK has sought consular access to the six British nationals on the ship and asked for a clarification on the charges against them.

The ship had reportedly been in Indian waters for three days before it was detected. According to the police, the crew broke several Indian laws and maintained no log of the arms on board.

The ship reportedly had 34 assault rifles and around 4,000 rounds of ammunition on board, which were seized by the Coast Guard. The weapons are currently with the Central Industrial Security Force or CISF.

The crew was also booked for refueling with 1,500 litres of diesel illegally bought from a local fishing boat.

The ship had reportedly been checked in Kochi about 45 days ago but no arms had been found at the time, say sources.

"My suspicion is that the boat is a floating armoury for private security agencies protecting against pirates," Deputy National Security Adviser Nehchal Sandhu had said earlier.

AdvanFort claims the ship entered the Indian waters to escape the fury of cyclone Phailin, but the vessel was detected far from where the cyclone hit Odisha and Andhra Pradesh last weekend.

The incident highlights the poorly regulated practice of private and military armed guards on ships for protection against pirate attacks.

In February last year, two Indian fishermen were allegedly shot dead by two Italian marines on an oil tanker off the Kerala coast. The marines are currently being prosecuted in India.