Navy apprehends 962 illegal immigrants this year
The Navy has arrested 228 persons who were illegally heading for
Australia during the first half of this month. With this the total
number of illegal immigrants apprehended by the Navy during this year
goes up to 962.
The Navy arrested 87 persons on August 16 and 17. Fifty seven among
them were intercepted, 40 nautical miles off Pigeon Island in
Trincomalee and other 30 were rescued in the deep seas,300 nautical
miles South-East of Sri Lanka.
The trawler 'Pushpa Rejini' which was intercepted in Trincomalee had
39 men, eight women and 10 children (six boys and four girls). They are
residents of Trincomalee, Jaffna, Batticaloa and Mannar.
Another 30 persons were rescued by the Sri Lanka Navy while stranded
in the deep seas. They were safely brought to the Tangalle Harbour on
Friday, were rescued after they were found drifting for a month at deep
Among the rescued were 19 Tamils and 11 Sinhalese. All are residents
of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Mannar, Chilaw and Negombo. The group
had met with the harrowing experience when the multi-day trawler they
were traveling had broken down at mid-sea due to a broken propeller
approximately 300 nautical miles South-East of Sri Lanka.
The trawler 'Ashen Putha II' which left Negombo on July 18 with a
group on board begun to drift after five days into its journey.
The Navy took immediate action on information received about the
incident and another fishing trawler named "Shiran Putha" in the area
also rendered assistance.
"Shiran Putha" readily volunteered to assist the Navy's rescue
mission land disregarding the additional costs involved. The group was
subsequently rescued by a fast naval patrol craft attached to the
Southern Naval Command.
All on board the trawler were found in a highly dehydrated condition.
They had run out of the scanty stock of provisions stacked inside the
crowded trawler and had nothing to eat or drink for days. Naval
personnel on board provided them with food, refreshments and emergency
"The incident is another instance which shows the risks involved in
illegal migration. If not for SLN's timely action, 30 precious lives
would have perished on the high seas.
"Therefore, the public are again reminded not to fall for traps laid
by the unscrupulous human smugglers, who amass vast sums of money on
false promises of lucrative employment opportunities and financial gains
overseas. SLN, on humanitarian grounds, has rescued a number of victims
from tragedies at sea in its Search and Rescue Region, using its assets
and professional expertise for the SAR missions," Navy Media Spokesman
Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya said. All of these arrested persons
have been handed over to the CID for further investigations.