New Delhi: The government is awaiting a report on an American ship, detained by Coast Guard for its suspicious movement in Indian waters, believed to be a floating armoury meant to supply arms to private agencies engaged in stopping piracy in high seas.
"You have had piracy earlier in the Strait of Malacca and now in the Gulf. People who provide such security need a floating armoury. My suspicion is that the boat in Tuticorin is a floating armoury for one of these private security agencies," Deputy National Security Adviser Nehchal Sandhu said on Monday.
Sandhu, a former chief of Intelligence Bureau, said piracy has increased in international waters and civil maritime operations have employed private maritime security companies against pirates.
The vessel, MV Seaman Guard Ohio, whose crew included eight Indians, was intercepted and detained by the Indian Coast Guard about 15 nautical miles east of Tuticorin on Saturday.
An FIR has been registered against 10 crew members and 25 guards of the detained ship by the Tamil Nadu Marine Police for illegally carrying arms and ammunition.
Besides, a case under the Essential Commodities Act has been registered for buying 1,500 litres of diesel illegally with the help of a local shipping agent.
Asked whether the incident was similar to the one in 2012 off Kerala coast when guards from an Italian ship killed two Indian fishermen, Sandhu said that was a separate incident and cannot be compared with impounding of the ship now.
"Well, in Italian Marine case, there was an offence. But here the weapons were discovered on board the ship," he said on the sidelines of a function here.