MUMBAI: The Mumbai Customs on Wednesday morning seized two ships, including a UAE-registered one, for alleged involvement in smuggling diesel from foreign-going ships anchored off the Mumbai harbour.
A. K. Prasad, Commissioner, Mumbai Customs told DNA that following a tip-off, a team of the Special Intelligence Investigations Branch of the Import Commissionerate swung into action, around five kilometers in the high seas on Tuesday night.
Following an overnight operation, the customs sleuths seized two vessels - an UAE registered ship Sea Bulk Toota and an Indian vessel, M V Anchor.
The sleuths also recovered foreign currency worth US $ 40,000, said to be the proceeds of a similar smuggling operation in the recent past and 1.55 lakh litres of diesel.
Prasad explained that the diesel used by foreign vessels was duty-free and the accused were siphoning off huge quantities from these vessels and selling it in black in the open market in India at massive profits.
The captain of the UAE vessel, a Philippine national, Vivencio Bertolini its chief engineer, a Honduran national, Errol Tennyson, and the captain of the Indian vessel, Biplav Kumar Rai, have been detained for interrogation.
Prasad said they are likely to be arrested later in the day.