Border protection: Navy deploys new strategy in N & E | Sunday Observer

Border protection: Navy deploys new strategy in N & E

The Sri Lanka Navy will change the mode of operation and fleet deployments in the Northern and Eastern seas to enhance border protection against poaching.

The new Navy Commander Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah said, “We are looking at an operation to aid the Indian fishermen, to see that they don’t get into trouble by crossing the line.”

In an interview with the Sunday Observer he said, “Poaching in Sri Lankan waters had been taking place for over 100 years, and it is not something that can be stopped overnight. The only thing you can do is to be visible and help the Indian trawlers to stay behind the boundary line.”

He was of the view that the increased presence will help the Indian trawlers to be cautious about approaching the boundary line and getting their boats confiscated.

The Chief of the Navy, the first Tamil to be appointed Commander after 45 years, since the much celebrated career of Admiral Kadirgamar, however, denied the new increased Navy deployments will be a cause for tension among the neighbours across the Palk Straits. “We work very closely with the Indian government to ensure that there is no misunderstanding between the two countries,” he added. The SL Navy arrested over 50 fishermen along with their trawlers which strayed into Sri Lanka’s territorial waters early this month. On August 3, the government released 77 Indian fishermen as a goodwill gesture. There is an ongoing dialogue between the fishermen representatives to settle the issue of poaching by Indian trawlers which mostly engage in illegal fishing.During the conflict, the Northern fishermen were barred from fishing in the northern and eastern waters for 25 years.

The Navy Commander said, “Our fishermen must be allowed to reap the benefits of peace.”