The Navy arrested 40 people attempting to illegally migrate by sea during a patrol off the coast of Batticaloa and in a special operation at Kalawanchkikudi beach in Batticaloa on 18 May.
SLNS Ranarisi attached to the Eastern Naval Command and Fast Attack Craft P 4443 of the 4th Fast Attack Flotilla intercepted a local multiday fishing vessel while patrolling Batticaloa waters.
A group of 19 individuals were found aboard trying to migrate illegally. The fishing vessel was also seized. Among the arrested were; 17 males including two human smugglers, one female and one boy. The suspects are between the ages of 12 to 50 years.
Due to the ramshackle nature of the multi-day fishing vessel and rough sea conditions, the fishing vessel has capsised while being towed ashore by P4443. Yet, the arrested suspects were safely transferred ashore by the Navy.
In the meantime, SLNS Kashyapa together with Police STF and Special Bureau carried out another search operation at Dharmapuram and Puthukuduirippu in Kalawanchikudi, Batticaloa on the night of 18 May, in connection to this illegal migration attempt. The raiding party managed to apprehend 21 more individuals in two dinghies at Dharmapuram and Puthukuduirippu beaches waiting to join the seized multiday fishing vessel, with the help of human smugglers. The two dinghies were also seized. 17 males including two human smugglers and four females between the ages of 20 to 44 years were arrested.
The arrested suspects were identified as residents of Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Vavuniya. The suspects held in Kalawanchikudi were handed over to the Kaththankudi Police for onward legal action. Those arrested by SLNS Ranarisi will be handed over to the Trincomalee Harbour Police for legal proceedings.
Meanwhile, the Navy urged the public not to risk their lives and property by being fooled by human traffickers who entice people to illegally migrate to foreign countries on treacherous sea voyages.