A Pakistani trawler laden with explosives blew itself up late on 31 December night after the vessel was intercepted by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) in the Arabian Sea off the Porbandar coast in Gujarat.
Based on intelligence inputs, Coast Guard ships and aircraft conducted midnight operation to intercept a suspect fishing boat in the Arabian Sea near Indo-Pak maritime boundary, approximately 365 km from Porbander, late in 31 December.
As per the intelligence inputs received, a fishing boat from KetiBunder near Karachi was planning some illicit transaction in Arabian Sea.
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 31 December in position 365 km West-South West of Porbandar.
The Coast Guard ship warned the fishing boat to stop for further investigation of the crew and cargo. However, the boat, instead of stopping, increased speed and tried to escape from the Indian side of the maritime boundary. A hot pursuit continued for nearly one hour and the Coast Guard ship managed to stop the fishing boat after firing warning shots.
Four persons were seen on the boat who disregarded all warnings by the Coast Guard ship to stop and cooperate with investigation. Soon thereafter, the crew hid themselves in a compartment below the deck and set the boat on fire, which resulted in explosion and major fire on the boat.
Due to darkness, bad weather and strong winds, the boat and persons on board could not be saved or recovered. The boat burnt and sank in the same position, in early hours of 1 January.
Coast Guard ships and aircraft are continuing operations in area to search for any possible survivor. Security agencies are maintaining high vigil in maritime and coastal areas since last couple of months due to several inputs on threat from the sea.