The Sri Lanka Navy, during a search operation on the western seas of the island on 23 June, apprehended a local multiday fishing trawler with 35 individuals, suspected to be on an illegal migration attempt to Australia.
Among the apprehended individuals were 25 males, including five involved in the racket, four females and six children. Along with the suspects, the fishing vessel used for this illegal act was also held by the Navy. Further inspections revealed that the multi-day trawler had a mechanical failure in its engine and the vessel was unsuitable for long voyages.
The suspects held in this operation are residents of Trincomalee, Mannar, Batticaloa, Negombo, Kalpitiya and Nuwara Eliya areas, aged six to 56. They were handed over to the Colombo Harbour Police.
The Navy urged the public to avoid being convicted before the law after being caught in the trap of smugglers who persuade the innocent to engage in illegal and perilous sea voyages to migrate from the island. It has been continuously observed that unfit fishing vessels are being used for such journeys and they are not at all seaworthy. As such, the Navy warned the public that attempting to migrate by these vessels could pose a high risk to their lives.