Colombo [Sri Lanka]: Sri Lankan navy detained over 100 people in two days, who were trying to migrate to Australia by boat, a local media reported citing the Sri Lankan Navy media unit.
According to the Navy media unit, the unit nabbed at least 47 people at sea off Negombo on Monday night including 5 human smugglers as well as 34 males, 6 women and 7 children, Colombo Gazette reported. The navy media unit said that a suspicious multi-day trawler was detected at sea by Navy boats, after which they conducted the search.
The individuals are said to be residents of Mannar, Kilinochchi, Jaffna, Kattankudy, Wennapuwa, Chilaw and Batticaloa, Colombo Gazette reported.
On Monday, the Sri Lankan seized a multi-day fishing trawler with 54 individuals, during a search operation carried out in the eastern seas.
Among the individuals detained were 52 males and 2 females. The suspects were residents of Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Mullaitivu and Jaffna, aged 19 to 53. They were handed over to the Trincomalee Harbour Police in Sri Lanka.
Earlier this month, the navy on June 15, during a special operation conducted by the Sri Lanka Navy in the eastern seas, the Sri Lankan Navy detained another 64 people attempting to migrate by boat, Colombo Gazette reported.
Over the past few months, the Sri Lankan navy has detained many people trying to migrate illegally using sea routes.
Notably, Sri Lanka has been facing an unprecedented economic crisis since independence in 1948, leading to an acute shortage of essential items like food, medicine, cooking gas and fuel across the island nation.
The nearly-bankrupt country, with an acute foreign currency crisis that resulted in foreign debt default, had announced in April that it is suspending nearly USD 7 billion foreign debt repayment due for this year out of about USD 25 billion due through 2026. Sri Lanka’s total foreign debt.
The economic crisis has particularly impacted food security, agriculture, livelihoods, and access to health services. Food production in the last harvest season was 40 – 50 per cent lower than last year, and the current agricultural season is at risk, with seeds, fertilizers, fuel and credit shortages.