Sri Lanka Navy turns 68 | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka Navy turns 68

During World War II, the British Empire had clearly understood the strategic importance of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and the necessity of a navy to ensure the Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC) or key maritime passageways lying in the vicinity of this teardrop island. It is with this glimmer of hope, the Ceylon Naval Volunteer Force (CNVF) was set up in 1937and after World War II the CNVF was absorbed into the Royal Navy as the Ceylon Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (CRNVR). After gaining independence from British rule, the meagre contingent of officers and sailors of the CRNVR were ready to form the Regular Navy.

In 1950 the Navy Act was enacted and the Royal Ceylon Navy formed. In 1972, with the introduction of the new Constitution, the Royal Ceylon Navy was renamed, the Sri Lanka Navy. From its humble beginning, with a scant ship crew and a few crafts, the sea going arm rose to become a formidable force which boasts of 3,500 officers, 53,000 sailors, Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessels and state-of-the-art equipment, when celebrating the Sri Lanka Navy’s 68th anniversary today, December 9, 2018.

Sri Lanka Navy made an admirable contribution to eradicate terrorism which scourged the country for nearly three decades. In the aftermath of hostilities in the country, the Navy’s role has broadened to an unprecedented scale, as they accelerated welfare measures for naval personnel killed, wounded and missing in action and their beloved family members. The Navy is also engaged in multifarious developmental projects of the Government, deploying skilled manpower for the benefit of the country.

The Welfare Unit of the Sri Lanka Navy, in coordination with the Ranaviruseva Authority plays a commendable role to realise the dream of a shelter over the head, of naval war heroes. The housing projects under ‘Api Wenuven Api’ have been able to uplift the living standard of the naval war heroes and their family. Sri Lanka Navy allows officers and sailors who have athletic skills to compete at national and international level sports and provides them with modern sports facilities. Besides, there are ample opportunities on offer for naval personnel who outshine in different branches to claim local and foreign training.

Sri Lanka Navy Seva Vanitha Unit also makes an effort to develop social, emotional, cultural and physical skills of pre school children preparing them for their future school career. The Navy has introduced programs and incentives for the children of Naval families who exhibit academic excellence at the Grade 5 Scholarship, GCE O/L and GCE A/L examinations.

Sri Lanka Navy, aptly known as the “Golden Fence around the Country” is tasked to defend its Exclusive Economic Zone which is eight times larger than the land area of the country, Search and Rescue Region that is 27 times larger than the land mass and critical sea ports of the country.

The Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) of the Sri Lanka Navy render an invaluable service to combat illegal activities including; human smuggling, drug trafficking, arm trafficking, illegal trade and illegal fishing, in the Indian Ocean Region. The sea patrols conducted by the Navy during the past years reaped the rewards of their hard work in terms of busting a number of illegal acts. The interest of the Navy to provide a common platform for stakeholders of national and international repute to discuss and deliberate maritime related issues, is amply exhibited in organizing conferences such as, the Galle Dialogue, in 2010.

Apart from the conventional branches, there are dedicated squadrons, units and battalions, diverse in nature and capable of undertaking wide-ranging activities. Special Boat Squadron with operational capabilities in sea, air and land, Rapid Action Boat Squadron with expertise in littoral operations and the recently established Marine Battalion with its mastery in invading enemy territories are significant components of the Sri Lanka Navy.

Deviating from their destined roles when needed, these special units are one of the first responders who step forward during natural disaster emergencies.

In this regard, the Navy established its first Disaster Response Unit at Welisara and their Rapid Response Rescue and Relief Unit was also set up to assist displaced communities during floods and landslide hazards.

Navy divers belonging to the Diving and Salvage Unit perform diving expeditions. In response to distress calls communicated by the Sri Lanka Police, the Navy divers spring into action around the clock, in search of missing persons drowned in watery grave.

Sri Lanka Navy, being a key supplier of Thalassemia Infusion Systems, makes valiant efforts to fight this inherited blood disorder. They have distributed 1,865 Thalassemia Infusion Systems among helpless Thalassemia patients across the country.

The Navy Research and Development Unit produced and installed 541 Reverse Osmosis plants in many parts of the county, serving poor communities with safe drinking water.

Today, the Navy has re-activated the hydrographic capabilities in an integrated approach, which will be beneficial to the Naval and fishing community.

It deals with the measurement and description of the physical features of uncharted waters and their change over time, for the primary purpose of safe navigation.

Sri Lanka Navy, under the leadership of the present Commander of the Navy, is sailing gracefully into the future, honing its competencies to serve the motherland and its people.

They are proud of the honourable service rendered over the past 68 years in different capacities and are determined to extend their contribution in the years to come for the betterment of the motherland. The Nav is all set to mark its birthday today.