Navy launches full-scale op to nab illegal migrants
The Navy has curtailed illegal migration of 537 persons so far this
The Navy yesterday said they have strengthened operations in the seas
off Eastern and Northern Provinces and it will not be easy for human
smugglers to penetrate the security at sea.
Navy Spokesman Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya yesterday said they
intercepted over 14 boats carrying hundreds of people, including women
and children, to Australia, in a series of detections.
“Most were arrested for attempting to flee to Australia illegally
under the guise of asylum seekers,” he said.
The Navy warned those trying to illegally migrate to Australia with
the help of human traffickers, to refrain from such activities, stating
such attempts would be futile as the Navy is keeping a close vigil. “We
are fully aware of their smuggling network,” Warnakulasuriya said. “The
victims give huge of amounts of money to smugglers to take them
illegally to another country, but what they do is risking their lives,”
“Human traffickers transport victims in multi-day fishing trawlers
designed for fishing and not for passenger transport. The journey can
take a long time. Adverse weather conditions could affect the journey.
Sometimes there is not enough food in the vessel,” he said.
Asked why those involved in human trafficking show a greater tendency
to use Eastern seaports to launch boats to transport passengers,
Warnakulasuriya said it was mainly because of the deserted beaches.
“They use these beaches to organise the travel, to bring supplies for
those who have paid for their illegal undertaking, to bring them
together and other provisions.
Eastern Province beaches are a safe haven for smugglers with the Yala
Sanctuary close at hand to hide themselves or their equipments,” he
said. Asked how the smugglers bring their boats to the Eastern shores,
Warnakulasuriya said they buy them from the South, usually paying huge
amounts of money that exceed the market price.