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

June 16, 2020

Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) 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 the Sri Lanka, SLN Spokesman Lt. Com. Isuru Sooriyabandara said today (16).

He said the SLN had taken several measures to prevent people illegally entering into Sri Lanka.

" 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, where all inward and outward passenger arrivals were banned, the possibility to intrude via sea routes illegally could be increased.

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.