Sri Lanka navy boards suspicious ship

Dec 26, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s navy is investigating a ship off the island’s east coast on suspicion that it could be a Tamil Tiger arms smuggling vessel, navy officials said Wednesday The suspicious vessel was detected some 90 nautical miles east of Arugam Bay, a small coastal resort town in eastern Sri Lanka.

“When we investigated, the vessel’s Indonesian crew abandoned ship and were rescued by the navy, navy spokesman Commander D.K.P. Dassanayake said. “The ship is now being checked by a navy boarding party.”

The navy’s suspicions were aroused as the ship appeared to be of the type used for arms smuggling by the Tamil Tigers, he said.

Several Tiger arms vessels were detected and sunk by naval action this year.

“We got suspicious as the crew claimed they were drifting due to lack of fuel,” Dassanayake said.

The navy is now also checking the ownership of the vessel.

Preliminary investigations are done at sea and the vessel will be brought into a nearby port for further investigations.”

Updated