Sri Lanka coast guard sets up bases

Aug 10, 2009 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's new coast guard has begun setting up bases and will get vessels from the navy for initial patrol work to protect ocean resources and for maritime security, its director-general Daya Dharmapriya said. The coast guard will get vessels for both offshore and inshore patrolling and also intends to acquire a rescue vessel, Dharmapriya said.

The service is required to prevent illicit activity in Sri Lankan waters like smuggling and poaching, as well as pollution prevention and search and rescue, he said.

Dharmapriya said the coast guard has been a long-felt need especially given the increasing pollution of the sea around the island and illegal activity such as human smuggling.

Sri Lanka's parliament last month passed a bill approving the creation of the coast guard to protect the island's waters.

Dharmapriya said the coast guard's first two bases would be in Colombo and Mirissa, on the island's south coast which is close to the main East-West shipping route across the Indian Ocean.

Other bases would be set up around the coast later on.

The coast guard will also have its own fleet of vessels, Dharmapriya said.

"Initially we'll get some vessels from the navy - the navy has agr

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