Boat People

Sept 11, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has arrested a fishing vessel with 40 people suspected to be illegal migrants headed for Australia, an official said. Sri Lanka navy has stepped up naval patrols and strengthened its presence along the island’s coast to combat piracy and illegal immigration.

“The boat was arrested off the island’s eastern seas early Sunday morning,” Navy Spokesman Kosala Warnakulasooriya told LBO.

The group had set sail from Negombo, a coastal town in Sri Lanka’s western shoreline which is a known hub for people smuggling activities.

The Navy in February seized 17 illegal immigrants aboard a vessel off the island’s southern seas allegedly heading to Australia.