Coast Guard bill passed in Parliament
The Sri Lankan Parliament yesterday (July 9) approved
the bill to set up a Coast Guard Department under the Ministry of
Defence, while replacing the Coast Guard Unit which operated under the
Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
The bill was passed with amendments as the new
Department will be assisting the Sri Lankan Navy to prevent illegal
emigration/ immigration activities, drug trafficking, contraband and
Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickemanayake, introducing
the Bill, said that there was an urgent need for such a department to
stop illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, taking place in the
Sri Lankan waters.
The necessity of such a department arouse in the
aftermath of LTTE's defeat as a measure to further secure Sri Lanka's
territorial waters, he said. "The Department will prevent illegal
fishing and poaching by other nationals in the Sri Lankan maritime zone"
the Premier added.
Opposition parliamentarian John Amaratunga (UNP) said
that the UNP would support the setting up of this department as it was