Sri Lanka Navy on high alert to thwart asylum seekers from virus hit countries

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) has launched a number of special sea operations around the country from the beginning of the novel Coronavirus pandemic to thwart asylum seekers fleeing from coronavirus-hit countries into island, SLN Spokesman Lieutenant Commander Isuru Sooriyabandara said.

The Navy spokesman has said that the SLN had taken several measures to prevent people illegally entering into Sri Lanka, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

“We have tightened our sea operations to thwart such illegal migrants entering into the country from foreign states at the time the government decided to cease the passenger arrivals through all the ports and airports,” he said.

According to Sooriyabandara, the operations at sea were conducted at a juncture, when all inward and outward passenger arrivals were banned and the possibility to intrude via sea routes illegally could increase.

He said the SLN had deliberately strengthened its sea operations along the seas off North and North-Western parts of the island, where a high density of fishing clusters are visible, since it would be an advantage for the racketeers to be involved in smuggling to perform under the guise of fishermen.

“Deployments were also vigilant on human and drug smuggling attempts into the country and naval assets were positioned not only in the surrounding seas, but also at the international waters under the directives of the Navy Commander Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva,” he stressed.

Explaining on the mutual support received from the friendly forces he said, Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Air Force, Sri Lanka Police and Sri Lanka Coast Guard extended their fullest support for the Navy-run operations to spoil unlawful arrivals.

“Especially, the SLAF has supported us by deploying its reconnaissance aircraft while coordinating the SLN led sea operations,” he said.

Sooriyabandara said deploying SLAF reconnaissance aircraft was not aimed at any specific foreign state, but merely to thwart attempts of trespassing.

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