Pune News : Boat illegally carrying 3,500 livestock to Dubai seized by Pune Customs

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Pune: A recent case of illegal export of livestock has been uncovered by the Pune Customs marine team off the Ratnagiri coast. The smugglers had falsely declared the goats and sheep as coastal cargo, intending to transport them to Dubai.

The Customs officers were alerted on April 21 when they received information about the movement of around 3,500 livestock from Vijaydurg port in Maharashtra to Okha port in Gujarat. The e-way bill data suggested that the livestock originated from Karnataka and was being transported to Gujarat for the upcoming festivities. However, the Pune Customs officers became suspicious as there was no history of such coastal passage and the supply of livestock from Karnataka to Gujarat did not seem like a common trade practice.

Consequently, the Pune Customs team placed the vessel under monitoring. While one team checked the vessel’s movement via automatic identification system (AIS), another was deployed at sea to visually identify the passage. However, after four hours of sailing, the AIS was found to be switched off, and the vessel was not in the expected vicinity. This prompted an alert to be forwarded to the joint operations centre, Coast Guard Mumbai.

Subsequently, the Coast Guard detected the vessel approximately 90 nautical miles in the open sea and on course to Dubai. On the Pune Customs team’s request, the Coast Guard intercepted the vessel around 12:30 am on April 21. The vessel, carrying the livestock, was then escorted to Jaigad anchorage, where the Customs officers conducted a thorough search.

During the search, fake shipping bills, invoices, and customs clearance were discovered, along with the use of fake seals of various authorities, including Customs, and fake import documents pertaining to the import to Dubai. The vessel, crew, and cargo have been detained for further investigation.

This incident highlights the illegal trade of livestock and the need for stricter laws to prevent such heinous crimes. The Pune Customs Department has been actively working towards curbing such illegal activities, and this seizure is a testament to their efforts. The officials have urged the public to come forward and report any instances of illegal animal trafficking to help put an end to this illegal trade.