Sri Lankan Navy thwarts illegal migration attempt, detains 85 people off eastern waters
Sri Lankan Navy on Sunday detained over 80 people who were trying to migrate illegally to a foreign country by boat in eastern waters, local media reported citing the Navy.
- Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan Navy on Sunday detained over 80 people who were trying to migrate illegally to a foreign country by boat in eastern waters, local media reported citing the Navy. "The Sri Lanka Navy detained 85 individuals who had attempted to migrate illegally by boat to a foreign country. The group had been detained at sea off Batticaloa early this morning (Sunday)," Colombo Gazette reported citing the Navy.
According to the Navy, during a patrol conducted off Batticaloa in the early hours of Sunday, the Navy seized a local multiday fishing trawler carrying 85 individuals including 60 men, 14 women and 11 children. The Navy also held the multiday fishing trawler used for this illegal sea voyage. The individuals held were identified as residents of Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Muthur, Kilinochchi, Jaffna and Madhu, Colombo Gazette reported.
SLNS Ranawickrama, which is attached to the Eastern Naval Command, detained the multiday fishing trawler, during the patrol, Colombo Gazette reported. The detained individuals were brought to the Trincomalee Harbor and they will be handed over to the Trincomalee Harbor Police for onward legal proceedings.
Meanwhile, a search operation carried out in the Mohoththiwaram beach area by the Navy with Police STF led to the arrest of five suspects who were suspected to be linked to the attempt to send the 85 individuals overseas by boat. Further investigations are underway. Over the past few months, the Sri Lankan navy has detained many people trying to migrate illegally using sea routes.
In June, this year, the Sri Lankan navy detained over 100 people in two days, who were trying to migrate to Australia by boat. "The unit nabbed at least 47 people at sea off Negombo on Monday night including 5 human smugglers as well as 34 males, 6 women and 7 children," the Navy media unit said.
A few days before this, the navy seized a multi-day fishing trawler with 54 individuals, during a search operation carried out in the eastern seas. Among the individuals detained were 52 males and 2 females. The suspects were residents of Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Mullaitivu and Jaffna, aged 19 to 53. Earlier on June 15, during a special operation conducted by the Sri Lanka Navy in the eastern seas, the Sri Lankan Navy detained another 64 people attempting to migrate by boat, Colombo Gazette reported
Notably, Sri Lanka has been facing an unprecedented economic crisis since independence in 1948, leading to an acute shortage of essential items like food, medicine, cooking gas and fuel across the island nation. The country faced the unavailability of basic inputs for production, with an 80 per cent depreciation of the currency since March 2022, coupled with a lack of foreign reserves, and the country's failure to meet its international debt obligations.
The economic crisis has particularly impacted food security, agriculture, livelihoods, and access to health services. Food production in the last harvest season was 40 - 50 per cent lower than last year, and the current agricultural season is at risk, with seeds, fertilizers, fuel and credit shortages. (ANI)
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