A 16-metre yacht carrying three AK-47 rifles, explosives and bullets was found at the Harihareshwar coast in Maharashtra’s Raigad district on Thursday, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis informed the state Assembly today. Addressing a media briefing later, Fadnavis said that there was no confirmation of a terror angle, although the Maharashtra Police and Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) is probing the matter and have been put on high alert.
“Three AK-47 rifles, papers, and cartridges were found. A roadblock was put in place and a high alert call was given. The Coast Guard was also informed,” Fadnavis said.
Fadnavis, who is also in-charge of the Home department, said that the yacht belonged to an Australian woman, and her husband was commanding the vessel.
“James Hobert, the woman’s husband, is the captain and they were going to Muscat from Europe. The boat’s engine was damaged and the sailors gave a call for help. A South Korean warship rescued them but a small boat could not be rescued due to rough weather,” the deputy CM said.
Superintendent of Police (SP) Ashok Dudhe confirmed that the rifles were found on the boat, PTI reported.
A distress call was made from the yacht on June 26, Coast Guard Commander General Paramesh Sivamani told The Indian Express. “This yacht had made a distress call on June 26 and four occupants were rescued from the Gulf of Oman. It was travelling to the UK and had a UK flag. This has drifted to Harihareshwar and there were three AK series assault rifles found and some small arms too,” he said.
“We have spoken to the master of the yacht. One security agency from Dubai has also called us to confirm that the same series of arms from their register is missing. These arms may have been used for protection of the crew,” he added.