The Sri Lanka Navy yesterday (11) apprehended a total of 38 persons suspected to be on an illegal migration attempt to Australia via sea.
Among the apprehended individuals were 26 males including six persons involved in this racket, five females and seven children, all aged between 02 and 60, identified as residents of Jaffna, Vavuniya, Valachchenai, Chilaw, Kalpitiya, Udappuwa, Ja-Ela and Negombo.
The suspects were later handed over to the Panama Police for onward legal proceedings, while the multiday fishing trawler used by the group was seized by the Navy.
Upon inspection of the trawler, the Navy revealed that it had had a mechanical failure in its engine and was unsuitable for long voyages.
The Navy warned the public that continuous observations have been made of ruinous fishing vessels being used for such journeys and they are not at all seaworthy, thus posing a greater risk to their lives.
Moreover, the public were adviced to avoid being convicted before the law by being caught in such traps posed by smugglers, as those deported from Australia will no longer be eligible to obtain a valid visa to Australia later.
The Australian Government recently repatriated groups of 12 and 15 Sri Lankans on 24 May and 09 June respectively, after having foiled their illegal migration attempts to Australia by boat.