Navy’s OPV Brings Stranded 73 Australia-Bound Sri Lankans Ashore
Sri Lanka Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessel Samudura brought all the 73 stranded Sri Lankans ashore safely on 26th July 2013. On the direction of the Navy, a merchant vessel heading for Singapore had rescued them 290 nautical miles south east of Galle around noon on 24th. The Navy alerted the merchant vessels in the area for the rescue, having received information on the incident from the Police.
Responding to the Navy’s request the Singapore-bound merchant vessel “Fairchem Sabre” deviated from her course and reached the overcrowded multi-day trawler in distress due to an engine failure, sailing additional 9 hours of the scheduled passage. The crew of the Panama-flagged vessel under Ship’s Captain Dewaki Nandan Edupuganti’s directions managed to take all the passengers onboard ensuring their safety during the mid-sea transfer despite rough seas.
Sri Lanka Navy dispatched SLNS Samudura along with a medical team to take over the rescued persons from the merchant vessel and bring them ashore. Among the rescued persons are 46 men, 10 women and 17 children that include 8 boys and 9 girls. All, who are residents of the Northern and Eastern Provinces, were brought to Galle Harbour this morning by Samudura.
The rescue efforts uphold the conventions on Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and fulfill seafarers’ obligations under international maritime laws. Sri Lanka Navy highly appreciates the commendable assistance rendered by Merchant Vessel, “Fairchem Sabre” for the rescue. If not for SLN and Merchant Vessel’s prompt actions those precious lives would have perished in deep sea.
The rescued people have been lured by people smuggling racketeers on this fruitless journey endangering their lives despite the Sri Lankan and Australian Governments‘ repeated warnings.
Press Release, July 29, 2013; Image: Sri Lanka Navy