Saturday, 3 May 2014 00:00
Sri Lanka Navy intercepted and arrested 54 illegal migrants bound for Australia on Friday in the eastern seas off Mullaitivu in the North.
A fast Naval Patrol Craft attached to the Eastern Naval Command has intercepted the multi-day fishing vessel with the 54 people onboard 20 nautical miles east of Mullaitivu, Navy said.
The group of migrants included 30 men, 11 women and 13 children.They are being brought to the Trincomalee Harbor to be handed over to the CID for further investigations.
Sri Lanka Navy said it has been able to thwart people smuggling attempts through its effective surveillance and augmented patrolling.
This was the first arrest of the illegal migrants to Australia via the sea route for several months. The last interception, according to the Navy was made on 04th October 2013 and 70 migrants bound for Australia were arrested in the deep seas off Galle in the South.
Sri Lankan Navy recently received a Bay Class patrol vessel from Australia to boost the efforts by the Navy to prevent people smuggling in the Indian Ocean.