NRao wrote:Dec 25, 2019 :: US aircraft launch gears for carriers mistakenly land in Gujarat
An early New Year present for India.NEW DELHI: Two aircraft launching gears meant for ‘Royal Saudi Land Forces’ have illegally landed at a private port in Kutch district of Gujarat through Pakistan, sending security forces into a tizzy.
The load -- ‘military grade’ aircraft launching gears -- were, intriguingly, not declared on two containers in which they were stuffed and packed aboard Kyoto Express ship at a New York port on November 8.
The containers were shown as ‘empty’. But when customs officers at Mundra port opened them on Friday, they found aircraft launching gears -- essentially used in aircraft carriers to assist takeoff of jets from the deck. That there is something fishy about containers was first detected by a surveyor of the shipping line when it was moved to the yard, customs department sources told ET on conditions of anonymity.
What has raised eyebrows in the customs and other security agencies such as the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) is why the two containers were not offloaded like some others after berthing the Kyoto Express -- a carrier owned by Hapag-Lloyd Aktiengesellschaft, Hamburg in Germany -- at Jeddah port?
“Officials could not figure out what it was from the literature and other papers lay in the containers after both were opened,” said a senior officer aware of the development. “Subsequently, shipping line was asked to get bill of lading from its main office in New York.” During the initial probe, custom officials realised that the bill of lading procured from shipper DHL Global Forwarding of United States clearly stated that the consignee is ‘Royal Saudi Land Forces’ and the gears were to reach: ‘Prince Sultan Road, HWY 156 Jizan Saudi Arabia’, documents accessed by ET show.
But, in the import general manifest (IGM), which the shipping line files with the customs department, these two containers were declared “empty”.
The vessel departed from New York and sailed through three to five ports, including Karachi, before dropping 300 odd empty containers, including the two suspicious ones, at Mundra port on Friday night.
An inquiry by the ET pointed out that Hapag-Lloyd official website showed the containers were unloaded at Mundra at 22.22 pm on December 20.
The Saudis, however, do not have an aircraft carrier in their fleet. Diplomats at Saudi Arabia embassy here were not available for comments, despite attempts by ET.
The customs department at Gujarat has sent a detailed report informing its Delhi-based nodal national agency, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, about the mysterious landing of catapults for jets.
Sanjay Agarwal, principal commissioner of customs for Mundra port, said, “Before reaching to any conclusion I would not like to reach to any conclusion whether it's a mischief or something else due to sensitivities involved.”
I personally think that they missed a Chinese port in-between.