Agencies want govt to regulate sale, purchase of boats

Agencies want govt to regulate sale, purchase of boats

Aims to avoid small boats landing in the hands of anti-social elements

Agencies want govt to regulate sale, purchase of boats

In a bid to plug lapses that might allow another terror strike through the seas, intelligence agencies have apprised the government about the need to regulate sale and purchase of life boats and small vessels from ship breaking yards.

The agencies red-flagged the issue so that the auditing of small boats takes place to ascertain the ownership and rule out the chances of them landing in the hands of anti-social elements.  Every ship has small boats tugged in its waste which is sold-off for a handsome price when it comes for dismantling.

The government was shaken out of its slumber after getting information that these boats can be bought over the counter at ship breaking units at Alang in Gujarat.

No identification records, whether personal or of residence and office is required, which is a huge risk to the country’s security as the 26/11 attacks came from the sea and Lashkar-e-Toiba continues to have its naval fleet which it had used to strike the financial capital.

The fear has also been compounded in the backdrop of a previous Naval Intelligence report suggesting that the country’s most wanted underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, who is based in Pakistan, had commercial interest in Alang due to high-profit ship scrap business. 

Despite the government recommending bio-metric identity cards to coastal residents and making registration of vessels mandatory to pep up the security standards post 26/11 attacks, the Shipping Ministry has failed to weave checks and balances in this sector, said government sources.

These un-registered vessels having a carrying capacity of around 30 passengers and can be easily used for smuggling activities, too, and the scrap dealers are exploiting Merchant Shipping Act for business purpose. Apart from the security threat, the government is also losing out on revenue which they can earn through registration of these crafts, sources said.

It is learnt that a year ago, the Shipping Ministry wanted to amend the Merchant Shipping Act to make it binding for small boats below 15 tonnes to get registered but did not move ahead.