Sri Lanka Navy apprehend 78 individuals, suspected to be on illegal migration attempts to a foreign country via sea, during separate search operations carried out in seas off Batticaloa and Kaluwankeni, Batticaloa on the night of 10 July.
Accordingly, the Fast Attack Craft P 491 of the fourth Fast Attack Flotilla in the Eastern Naval Command intercepted and searched a suspicious local multiday fishing trawler, during a search operation in seas off Batticaloa on the night of 10 July 2022.
In this search, the Navy apprehended 61 individuals who were suspected to be on an illegal migration attempt to a foreign country via sea. Among the apprehended individuals were; 43 males including six individuals connected to this racket, seven females and 11 children. The Navy also held the local multiday fishing trawler used for this illegal sea voyage.
Twenty one (21) of those people held by the Navy off Batticaloa were brought to Trincomalee Harbour by an SLN Fast Attack Craft, yesterday (11). Meanwhile, the other 40 persons along with the fishing trawler are currently being brought to Trincomalee Harbour as well. They will be handed over to the Trincomalee Harbour Police for onward legal action.
Meanwhile, SLNS Kashyapa in the Eastern Naval Command and Kalawanchikudi STF mounted another search operation in the beach area of Kaluwankeni, Batticaloa in the dark hours of 10 July. The coordinated operation led to the apprehension of 17 individuals who were suspected to be remaining at the beach with the intention of illegally migrating to a foreign country by the aforementioned fishing trawler. There were 16 males and one female who are from 22 to 50 years of age, in the group of apprehended. The raiding party also seized a van during this operation.
The individuals held in Kaluwankeni were identified as residents of Jaffna, Batticaloa, Vavuniya, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Kurunegala. The suspects along with the van were handed over to the Eravur Police for onward legal action.
It is observed that human smugglers organise this kind of rackets using unsafe vessels for the purpose of making fast money. Against such backdrop, the Navy urges the public to refrain from risking their lives by engaging in perilous sea voyages and be victims before the law.