Pakistani Fishing Boat Self-Detonates After Being Chased by Indian Coast Guard

dhow on fire
Image via Government of India

The Indian Defence Ministry reports the crew of a suspect Pakistani fishing boat from Keti Bunder, near Karachi, took dramatic measures to avoid being boarded following an interception around midnight of December 31 in the Arabian Sea.  After initial attempts to evade the Indian Coast Guard, the boat halted upon the firing of warning shots by a Coast Guard ship in pursuit.  The four crew members then hid below deck before setting the boat on fire, which apparently triggered a large explosion and major fire.

According to the Indian Defense Ministry, intelligence reports indicated the vessel was planning an illicit transaction and Coast Guard assets were diverted to search and locate the fishing boat. 

The Defense Ministry statement reported “Due to darkness, bad weather and strong winds, the boat and persons on board could not be saved or recovered. The boat burnt and sank in the same position, in early hours of 1st January. Coast Guard ships and aircraft are continuing operations in area to search for any possible survivor.”

Intelligence reports of potential seaborne threats have resulted in increased maritime surveillance by India.  In the 2008 Mubai attacks, more than 60 Pakistani terrorists reached the city by sea.  More than 160 people were killed in the subsequent assault.