Mumbai on alert after mystery speedboats are sighted (Lead)

February 22nd, 2009 - 10:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Feb 22 (IANS) Mumbai Police, the Coast Guard and Indian Navy were on alert Sunday after fishermen reported sighting two apparently mysterious speedboasts off the coast near here, an official said.
The Coast Guard’s ships and an aircraft were searching the Arabian Sea coast off Mumbai to trace out the two mysterious speedboats, the Coast Guard official said in the evening.

“The boats were sighted by some fishermen around 10 nautical miles of the Satpati coast (110 km north of Mumbai). They immediately informed us and we in turn alerted the concerned authorities in Mumbai,” Shashikant Mahavarkar, deputy superintendent of police, Vasai (Division) in Thane, told IANS.

The police immediately placed road blocks on all the coastal towns in Thane district, and launched strict checking at all large and small ports, jetties and other landing points dotting the northern Konkan region, and sounded a general alert for suspicious persons, he added.

The matter assumed seriousness owing to the strategic location of Satpati, which is among the largest fishing villages in the Palghar sub-district of Thane.

In close proximity is Tarapur where four nuclear power plants are located and a power generation plant is located in the nearby Dahanu, around 110 km north of Mumbai.

The Coast Guard official said the concerned agencies were in a state of high alert in the entire Konkan coastal region following the reports of the mystery speedboats.

“Even the Sagar Suraksha Dal has been kept on alert,” he said.

Authorities are not taking any chances as the 10 the terrorists who struck Mumbai Nov 26-29 had come by the Arabian Sea route from Pakistan and landed in south Mumbai.

Last month, the government deployed a fleet of high-speed patrol boats to guard the coastal regions of the state in an effort to prevent terror attacks.

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