Indian Coast Guard thwarts smuggling attempts, seizes fishing boats in Gulf of Mannar


An Indian Coast Guard (ICG) ship patrolling thwarted a smuggling attempt on the waters of the Gulf of Mannar, which connects India and Sri Lanka,.

A total of four fishing boats, two each from India and Sri Lanka, were spotted by the guards of Ship Vajra, as they were engaging in the smuggling of Tendu leaves near the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL). 

According to the ICG, two Sri Lankan fishing boats were apprehended after a hot pursuit as they were fleeing at high speed to cross the IMBL. About 104 bags of Tendu leaves, weighing nearly 2.8 tonnes worth Rs. 20 million ($24,500) were recovered from the boats. 

The leaves of Tendu, scientifically known as 'Diospyros melanoxyion', are used as wrappers of tobacco to produce bidi -- a thin cigarette or mini-cigar that is filled with tobacco flakes and commonly wrapped in a tendu leaf.

The boats were then taken to Tuticorin harbour in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu and were handed over to local authorities for further action.