In a shocking development which highlights the co-ordination gap among different security agencies in the metropolis, Coast Guard was alerted about the presence of the vessel M V Pavit in the high seas 14 hours after it had been first spotted by the city police.
In a bleak reminder to the lack of co-ordination displayed during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, local police, who first spotted the ship at around 10 pm on Saturday, did not pass on the information to their top brass as they had taken it “very lightly” and quibbled over jurisdictional issues, police sources said.
When city police chief Arup Patnaik learnt about the ship being drifted towards the shore on Sunday at about 12 pm, he immediately rang up Coast Guard Inspector General SPS Basra.The Panama-flagged vessel, which has a capacity to hold 1,000 tonnes of cargo, ran aground near Seven Bungalows on Sunday afternoon and was suspected to have drifted on from the Persian Gulf.
According to police sources, Santacruz police station policemen first had information that a huge ship was spotted in the high seas and it was sailing towards Mumbai.
A policeman from the station had gone to a five star hotel and viewed at the high seas from the terrace when he spotted the vessel but he did not inform the control room.
Instead the cop passed on the information to the Sagari and Juhu police stations believing that the area was under their jurisdiction, the sources said.
When contacted, Sagari police station’s in-charge A B Pawar said neither him nor his subordinates were informed about any such vessel, while Juhu Police Station in-charge Arun Bhagat and Santacruz police station senior inspector Madhukar Chaudhari refused to comment on the issue.
Meanwhile, Joint Police Commissioner (Law & Order) Rajnish Seth raised questions on the Coast Guard and Navy’s working pattern and not within its force.
“Mumbai police patrols upto 12 nautical miles in the sea. Beyond that it is the jurisdiction of Coast Guard and Navy. It was they who could have spotted this ship first, not us,” he said.