Naval crew onboard the ship SLNS Samudura apprehended the 17 people early this morning in the seas 40 NMs off the Galle lighthouse.
Among those arrested are a woman, two small girls and two young boys.
The would-be asylum seekers had left from the Negombo harbor onboard the fishing trawler “Vindana 3” on 1st March. The Sri Lanka navy apprehended the migrants on a tip off received by intelligence personnel.
The apprehended migrants were taken to the port of Galle with the help of the naval craft P414 and handed over to the police station in Galle for onward investigations.
The navy said that there is no means of heading towards Australia using illegal methods as the country is very strict with regard to such migration.
“However people keep on venturing and losing their hard earned money based on the bogus information given by human smugglers and finally become convicts in the hands of the law. Due to the deployment of Sri Lanka navy’s regular patrols and its strong network of intelligence it is impossible to break the shackles of the navy,” the navy said following the arrest.
Australia has in the recent past adopted a policy to turn back any illegal asylum seeker boats which attempts to reach Australian waters. (Colombo Gazette)