'Around 5,000 jobless due to Avant Garde closure' | Daily News

'Around 5,000 jobless due to Avant Garde closure'

A senior former official of the Avant Garde Maritime Security Services yesterday said that around 5,000 people have lost their jobs due to the closure of the company.

"Around 5,000 people who were employed by the company on direct and indirect capacities have lost their jobs due to the government decision to hand over the operations to the Navy," the firm's former Manager of Commercial Vessel Protection, Lt Col (retd) Nilantha Jayaweera said.

Jayaweera said around 150 foreign ships which previously sought services

of Avant Garde to protect their vessels from possible piracy attacks has now stated that they will seek such services from elsewhere.

He said some foreign ships were currently facing difficulties in obtaining security for their ships due to the sudden closure of the company.

Jayaweera said the offices maintained by the company in five countries have been closed and the employees have been requested to return back.

He denied claims that some of the weapons found in the floating armories belonging to Avant Garde were illegal.

He said all weapons used by the company were government approved ones obtained legally through Rakna Lanka, an organisation owned by the government.

Jayaweera said the Navy when taking back the weapons from Avant Garde had treated the company's employees as if they had done something criminal.

"We did nothing wrong. All our operations were carried out with government approval. Ours was a company which earned high foreign revenue on behalf of the country," he added.

Questioned as to why Avant Garde at the last moment had canceled a recent media briefing convened by them, Jayaweera said this was because the chairman of the firm had suddenly fallen ill.Following a meeting with all stakeholders, President Maithripala Sirisena recently ordered to hand back the operations of the controversial Maritime Security Services company to the Sri Lanka Navy. Several investigations are currently proceeding to ascertain as to whether the Avant Garde Maritime Security firm was involved in illegal activities.


No disruption to maritime security services - Navy Media Spokesman

Navy Media Spokesman Captain Akram Alavi when queried denied claims made by a former Avant Garde Manager that there was disruption to maritime security services.

He said that contrary to claims by Avant Garde, the providing of security to foreign vessels were proceeding smoothly.

Captain Alavi said that around 37 vessels were provided security on Saturday alone without any problems.

He also denied claims that the Navy had acted in a high handed manner when treating officials of the Avant Garde.

He said that weapons in the floating armoury named "Mahanuywara" has been taken over and the weapons in the vessel named "Avant Garde" were currently being examined by the CID. He said that serial numbers on some of weapons have been tampered with. 

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