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Last modified on: 12/30/2010 11:43:08 PM Coast Guard bill passed in Parliament

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 weapons.

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 long overdue.

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