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Owner of abandoned yacht explains 3 AK-74 rifles on board; here’s what happened

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Reported By:| Edited By: |Source: |Updated: Aug 19, 2022, 07:28 AM IST

The owner of the yacht found adrift off Maharashtra’s Raigarh has claimed that the three AK-74 rifles found on board were meant to protect the boat from Somalian pirates and that he has valid documents for the weapons. A senior Coast Guard official has confirmed that the weapons are legal, ruling out the terror angle. 

The 16-meter-long Lady Han was going from West Asia to Europe when it suffered an engine failure. The captain of the boat later had to be evacuated due to an injury and the remaining three sailors later abandoned the journey due to bad weather, the owner of the yacht who was leading the expedition told The Indian Express.

He said the boat had suffered damages as it was being towed away by a Korean warship and had been adrift since. He also claimed he had been writing emails to the Indian Navy to get the boat back. 

Sailing master Robert James — who was the skipper of the boat– said the yacht was owned by his wife. He had been sailing with three others to Europe from Dubai. “Our next halt was at Salalah (Oman) and later, we were to pass through the Suez Canal,” he told the newspaper. 

He said the engine failure occurred in the Gulf of Oman. He said he was airlifted to Salalah as he had trauma and the same evening other sailors decided to abandon the journey. “They were rescued by a Korean warship and they also tried to tow my vessel,” he added. 

He said the boat went adrift while being towed.

Director General of Coast Guard Virender Pathania gave the same account.

On why the weapons were abandoned on the boat, he said the Omani authorities didn’t help the crew.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told the state assembly that as of now there was no terror angle but the authorities were investigating the matter further.

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