Crew mum on customs’ queries

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The customs officials carried out a rummage of Italian ship Enrica Lexie but did not find any suspicious material other than the boxes of weapons.

However, it was learnt that the staff of the vessel were unwilling to speak to the officials.

“Besides the crew, 19 Indians, including a person hailing from Tamil Nadu, form part of the crew. They appear to be frightened to speak and it seems that there has been strict instruction from the Italian officials not to speak with the investigators.

The only person we managed to speak was the ship captain,” an official said.

“From whatever we could gather, the employees are threatened they will be be sacked if they spoke any outsider,” he said.

The team searched every room and verified documents of the staff and the crew, all of which were found to be in order.

Meanwhile, the Port Immigration department has issued at least eight “shore passes” to the captain and two naval personnel as part of the investigations.

“As the ship originally didn’t have a port of call here, they need to take ‘shore pass’, which is usually issued for three days,” he said.

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