Sunday, December 07, 2008

Bullet Ridden Boat Found

Even as the mystery over the recovery of six fibreglass Sri Lankan boats off Dhanushkodi remains, the Coast Guard on Saturday recovered one more Sri Lankan boat with bullet marks at Arichamunai. The Commanding Officer, Coast Guard, Mandapam, told The Hindu that there were 14 bullet marks on the boat. This is the third such seizure in the last 15 days. The boat was found abandoned by a Coast Guard vessel on patrol. Like in the earlier cases, the outboard engine had been removed. No one has come forward to claim it. It was towed to the Mandapam Coast Guard station. Asked about the continuous seizure of abandoned boats, the Commandant said there was no clear information. Terming it a mystery, he said it had to be thoroughly investigated.He added that the pattern of arrival of boats showed they had reached the shore in the night. It had to be verified whether the engines had been taken away by fishermen or buried in the sand. Superintendent of Police K.A. Senthil Velan, who inspected the boat, said preliminary information revealed it was from Talaimannar. Most of the seized boats were from the same area. Asked whether anyone from Sri Lanka had intruded using the boats, he said an enquiry was on. Several local fishermen and others were being questioned. It had been decided to seek the assistance of Sri Lankan authorities. The registration numbers of boats and other details would be sent to them through the Fisheries Department and defence agencies.

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