Sri Lanka Australia’s strongest partner in tackling maritime people smuggling

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Australia says Sri Lanka is perhaps its strongest partner in tackling maritime people smuggling.

The Australian Government today gifted two Bay Class Vessel engines to the Sri Lankan Navy in a handover ceremony held in Galle, demonstrating the two nations’ shared commitment to combatting illegal maritime activity.

Both engines have been installed in SLNS Mihikatha, one of two Bay Class Vessels gifted by the Australian Government in 2014 to bolster the Sri Lankan Navy’s maritime security capability.

Australia’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Bryce Hutchesson and Rear Admiral Piyal de Silva presided over the ceremony. Both commended the close and longstanding relationship between Australia and Sri Lanka on people smuggling, transnational crime and sea and maritime search and rescue.

High Commissioner Hutchesson said the engines and vessels are a tangible example of Australia’s commitment to working cooperatively with Sri Lanka on a range of maritime threats.

“Sri Lanka is perhaps Australia’s strongest partner in tackling maritime people smuggling. In the last four years, every people smuggling boat that has departed Sri Lanka attempting to reach Australia has failed.”

Australia provides ongoing technical support for these vessels and to the Sri Lankan Navy through training, gifting of equipment and information sharing.

Later this year Australia will gift three Port Class vessels to the Sri Lankan Coast Guard. (Colombo Gazette)

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