In a swift operation, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) team at Mandapam have seized two tonnes of banned sea cucumber. Working on a tip-off about illegal transhipment of sea cucumber received in the wee hours, the ICG team swung into action and tracked a suspect boat involved in likely smuggling. ICG teams were deployed in the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay areas to effectively cordon the likely escape by sea route.
Subsequently, the boat was intercepted at 10.30 am on Sunday and boarded by a team of Coast Guard. “The boarding team of ICGS H-183 recovered 200 gunny bags of sea cucumber weighing 2000 kg. The boat was found anchored about 15 kms off Vedalai South of Mandapam without its crew. The boat alongwith seized sea cucumbers in 200 gunny bags have been brought to south Mandapam and handed over to forest Officials. The value of seized sea cucumbers is reported to be about eight Crores INR.
On investigation, it was revealed that the consignment was planned for transhipment across the International Maritime Boundary Line during dark hours. Sea cucumbers are in high demand in China and Southeast Asia. However, India is treating it as a species listed under schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.