Trawler used by Mumbai terror attacks crew still stuck in Porbandar

Bought by businessmen Hiralal and Vinod Masani, the trawler named 'Kuber' has caused significant losses without any earnings for them

Locals have nicknamed 'Kuber' as the "terror boat" (photo: IANS)
Locals have nicknamed 'Kuber' as the "terror boat" (photo: IANS)


Fifteen years have passed since the deadly Mumbai terror attacks carried out by Pakistani terrorists rattled the country's financial capital, but the trawler that was used by the terrorists, including Ajmal Kasab, to reach Mumbai remains parked in a corner at the port of Porbandar in Gujarat.

The trawler was bought by Gujarati businessman Hiralal Masani and his brother Vinod. However, luck did not favour them, even though the boat was named Kuber after lord Kuber, the Hindu god of wealth.

Vinod, who was given the trawler by his elder brother, is now paralysed and speaks in a feeble voice. Speaking to IANS, Vinod said: "The trawler has been brought offshore and kept there ever since it was brought back to Porbandar in 2009, just a few months after the Mumbai terror attacks. We have not been able to earn anything from it. And it has only brought us huge losses."

Kuber was hijacked by a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative and eight other terrorists to orchestrate the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. Ajmal Kasab and his accomplices hijacked the boat off the Gujarat coast a few days before they launched the attacks on 26 November 2008.

"And once it came back to Porbandar, none of the people could show enough courage to run it again as they felt it was an ill omen," he said, adding that many of the crew he convinced to operate the boat refused to come on board.

He further said that the boat is only causing losses for him as maintaining it even ashore costs a lot. Appealing to the government for help, Vinod said: "The government must think about me, as I lost everything in it."

Meanwhile, Manish Lodhari, ex-president of Porbandar Fishermen and Boat Association, said Kuber could never set sail in the sea again after the 2008 terror attacks, adding that people have nicknamed it as the "terror boat".

"Vinod Masani tried to take the trawler out to sea several times, but all his efforts went in vain because people were not ready to sign up. They were not convinced they wanted to be part of the crew of the terror boat," Lodhari said.

Lodhari also recalled that earlier, about 5,000 boats used to be in operation for fishing in Porbandar. "However, the number has now come down to around 2,500. About 1,200 boats are in Pakistan's custody and about 200 fishermen are also locked up in Pakistan," he said.

He said during Diwali this year, around 100 fishermen were released from Pakistan and brought back home. "However, there are about 200 fishermen still held captive in Pakistan," he added.

Lodhari also said many of former trawler operatives have now switched to other businesses, and those who are still operating avoid going toward Pakistani waters fearing arrest.

A total of 166 people, including six Americans, were killed in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks carried out by 10 well-trained Pakistani terrorists, who laid a more than 60-hour siege to a part of the city, attacking and killing people at several iconic and vital locations, including Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Hotel Taj Mahal, Trident Hotel, Nariman House, and the Jewish Chabad Centre among others.

Meanwhile, an Intelligence source said the government has focused on strengthening the Intelligence Bureau to collect more information to thwart any such terror attacks in the future, and to develop more precise intelligence on potential terrorist plans, which it has been doing after conducting regular meetings with the state police, other agencies, and the Indian Army.

The IB now collects and shares the intelligence with them to keep close tabs on all the information shared.

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