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Sunday, 11 July 2010

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Suspected ship under watch

A suspected LTTE vessel carrying over 200 illegal immigrants including hardcore LTTE leaders set sail from the Gulf of Thailand to Canada last week, Prof. Rohan Gunaratna told the Sunday Observer from his office in Singapore.

He said several governments were monitoring the ship, MV Sun Sea, to determine its possible destination and prevent entry without detection since the ship was believed to be carrying a group of LTTE leaders. MV Sun Sea earlier known as Harin Panich 19, is captained by an LTTE Sea Tiger leader Vinod and manned by a 24-member crew.

International terrorism experts warn it could try to deceive the countries that are monitoring its movements, by changing its course from time to time to prevent interception.

Two weeks ago, the ship was believed to be heading towards Australia and the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry, through its mission in Canberra, tipped off the Australian Government of the imminent threat. Since then there had not been any news of the vessel.Prof. Gunaratna said, “Canada is likely to permit their entry, but deny citizenship to those identified as LTTE.”

The Thailand Navy sea patrols spotted MV Sun Sea, a vessel previously used for gun running, near the Exclusive Economic Zone of the country in April. When the sailors tried to intercept the unidentified vessel, ‘Captain Vinod’ threatened that several illegal immigrants will throw themselves overboard if anyone tried to board his ship.

Later it set sail, but Prof. Gunaratna said the ship had been idling in the Gulf of Thailand for days before it set sail for Canada, last week.

Vinod has been identified as the Deputy of Captain Kamalraj Kandasamy, who conducted North Korean arms procurement voyages for the LTTE earlier. Vinod was involved in procuring several thousand tonnes of arms, ammunition and explosives from North Korea in the past.

 

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