Navy rescues Australia bound boat

The navy has rescued an Australia bound boat put at sea just off Galle with over 50 illegal immigrants on board, a navy spokesman said.

A navy vessel was deployed following a distress call to rescue the boat early this morning after the boat was stranded.

The illegal immigrants heading to Australia were rescued and are being brought back to Galle.

Meanwhile the Indian media had reported yesterday that sixty-five Sri Lankan nationals, who had set out on a trawler from Point Pedro with the idea of emigrating to Australia, were rescued and towed to safety by Nagapattinam fishermen past midnight on Thursday.

The stranded vessel had developed a technical glitch and drifted away, when it was spotted by a fishing boat 120 nautical miles east of Velankanni.

The prospective asylum-seekers, including three women and seven boys below 18 years, were lured by the spurious promise of guaranteed refuge in Australia by a local agent in Sri Lanka.

They had all come from places such as Negombo, Colombo, Kilinochchi and Mandaitheevu to Point Pedro (Paruthithurai in Tamil) to make the long journey on the boat.