In a freak accident that has larger security implications, a private vessel drifted and collided with the jetty at the critical naval station, INS Karanja, in Mumbai.
The naval station houses the INS Tunir, which is one of the Navy’s major armament depots that stores and delivers missiles and ammunition of the Western Naval Fleet. It also houses INS Abhimanyu where the Navy’s elite Marcos commandos are based.
Naval officers told ThePrint that the private vessel had been anchored off the waters for quite some time and drifted towards the station after its anchorage came off Thursday.
They said the ship’s engines were not working, and that there were only two crew members on board. “The Marine Police had also reached the spot. It was the private vessel’s crew that shouted and drew attention to the situation,” a Navy officer said.
Asked if this was a security breach since the vessel managed to collide with the jetty of such an important base, the officer said all security arrangements were in place.
He added that the personnel on the ground knew that the ship was drifting.
It is, however, not yet clear if any preventive action was indeed taken by the Navy to ensure that ship stayed away or was not hijacked by inimical elements.
Details of the private vessel are yet to be known.
Private vessel to be stuck for a while ::
Now that the vessel has entered a low tide area, it will need to be towed back to the high tide, which in effect means that the process will take some time.
Domain experts and sources in the Navy said the incident is a matter of concern. They said a private vessel managing to hit the jetty is a major security breach because there are measures that have to be taken to prevent it.
“It is the biggest ammunition depot and that jetty is the main supply route for missiles and other ammunition that is stored,” a naval source said.
Another source said the incident also showcases the “unchallenged vulnerability” that installations face.