The Sri Lanka Navy yesterday (23) apprehended a total of 35 persons suspected to be on an illegal migration attempt to Australia via sea.
Among the apprehended individuals were 25 males including five persons involved in this racket, four females and six children, all aged between 06 and 56, identified as residents of Trincomalee, Mannar, Batticaloa, Negombo, Kalpitiya and Nuwara Eliya.
The suspects were later handed over to the Colombo Harbour 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.