Sri Lanka Navy apprehended a local multi-day fishing trawler with 38 individuals, suspected to be on an illegal migration attempt to Australia via sea.
This trawler was detected during a search operation carried out in southeastern seas off the island last Friday evening. In the search operation mounted in seas off Okanda,
Ampara the Navy intercepted a suspicious local multi-day fishing trawler carrying 38 persons who were suspected to be attempting to illegally migrate from the island to Australia.
Among the apprehended individuals were 26 males including six persons involved in this racket, five females and seven children. Along with the suspects, the fishing vessel used for this illegal act was also held by the Navy. 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 Jaffna, Vavuniya, Valachchenai, Chilaw, Kalpitiya, Udappuwa, Ja-Ela and Negombo areas, aged two to 60. They were handed over to the Panama Police.
The Navy urges the public to desist being convicted before the law by being caught in the trap of smugglers who persuade the innocent to engage in illegal and perilous sea voyages to migrate from the country.
The Australian government does not support such illegal immigrants, who are arrested and deported immediately.
The Australian government repatriated groups of 12 and 15 Sri Lankans on May 24 and June 9 respectively, after having foiled their illegal migration attempts to Australia by boat.
Once repatriated such illegal immigrants may not be eligible to obtain valid visa to Australia later.
It has been continuously observed ruinous fishing vessels are being used for such journeys and they are not at all seaworthy. As such, the Navy warns the public that attempting to migrate by these vessels could pose a high risk to their lives.