Navy conducts awareness programme for multi-day fishing vessel owners on drug trafficking and human smuggling via sea, in Colombo

An awareness programme organised by the Sri Lanka Navy for the multi-day fishing vessel owners and its community was held at the Colombo Lighthouse Galley premises on 27th December 2019. The prime objective of the programme was to educate the fishing community to help prevent drug smuggling in island's waters.

During this awareness programme organized by the Navy in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva explained the participants how various persons disguised as fishermen engage in drug trafficking and human smuggling. He also stated about the counter operations to curb such illegal activities.

By informing of fishing vessels, engaging in drug dealing, to the Navy Operations Room, informing about suspicious fishing vessels and persons, being vigilant on members of the vessel, obtaining Police reports for the members of the vessel at least once a year, obtaining Police reports for new recruits and on renewal of members of the vessel, maintaining the vessel's VMS operational at all times and being more familiar with the area of fishing, the fishing community can contribute to curb smuggling of drugs, the Commander of the Navy explained further.

Moreover, the gathering was brought aware of the illegal migrations to Australia and the Reunion island on-board multiday fishing trawlers. Commander of the Navy stressed that such groups of migrants are deported and the trawlers are not released from the custody. Further, he pointed out the possibility of joining the owners and the crew members of multiday fishing trawlers, in such illegal migration attempts.

During the session, the fisheries representatives came out with their problems and the Commander of the Navy assured to give solutions to their problems within the existing legal framework.

Additional Director Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Mr. SJ Kahawatta and 45 chairpersons of Fisheries Associations were also present on the occasion.