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Vizag-bound Malaysian cargo ship drifts to Odisha coast, sparks security concern

Press Trust of India  |  Bhubaneswar 

A Malaysian cargo ship headed to Vishakhapatnam drifted towards the Odisha coast apparently due to technical problems, sparking a security scare as marine agencies remain on high alert after the decision on Article 370, officials said on Saturday.

The ship with 10 crew members, one of them being an Indian, remains anchored at a place under the Krushnaprasad Police Station area in Puri district for the last two days, police said.

"The ship has been anchored near Rajhans island close to Chilika lake for the last two days due to technical glitches," said Krushnaprasad police station Inspector In-charge Sudhir Ranjan Sahu.

The ship was caught in a storm in the Bay of Bengal and drifted towards Odisha before landing at the Rajhans Island, police said.

Engineers are already on the job to repair the ship, Sahu said, adding that the police have verified the identities of the crew members.

Of the 10 crew members, nine were Malaysia national while one of them is an Indian citizen, he said.

"We have checked their documents and came to know that the crew members came here due to technical glitch in the ship," Sahu said.

The timing of the sudden arrival of the ship near the Chilika lake caused panic among the local people in wake of the alert issued by the government.

Following a Union Home Ministry advisory after revocation of provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, the Odisha Police alerted all the 18 marine police stations of the coastal areas.

Additional Coastal Security Director General P B Acharya has asked the seven Superintendents of Police in six coastal districts to remain alert to any suspicious movement of vessels near the water boundary.

The SPs of Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Ganjam and Berhampur have been instructed to remain vigilant in view of the alert.

Chilika Development Authority CEO Susanta Nanda said the ship was anchored near the Rajhans Island and not entered into the lagoon area.

"The crew members have been interrogated by the police and they will leave the place in a day or two after repair of the ship," he said.

It was carrying a consignment of iron ore from Malaysia to Bangladesh and was heading to Vishakhapatnam after unload when technical problem surfaced.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, August 10 2019. 22:55 IST
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