Indian trawler sinks after collision with SL Navy craft 

  • Search and rescue operation underway 


The Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) launched a search and rescue operation on the night of 18 January in search of a trespassing Indian fishing boat and its crew, which had sunk in Sri Lankan waters following an incident of resisting arrest.

The boat had sunk northwest of Delft Island, approximately eight nautical miles (15 km) within the international maritime boundary line (IMBL), on the night of 18 January.

SLN units on patrol carried out an operation to seize Indian fishing trawlers trespassing the IMBL to poach in Sri Lankan waters, after observing more than 50 such trawlers. During the operation, one of the Indian fishing trawlers, which had resisted arrest through aggressive manoeuvring, collided with an SLN Fast Attack Craft in its escape attempt, and sank after having lost stability. The collision also caused damage to the SLN craft, which was subsequently brought to the Kankesanthurai Harbour for repair.

Following the incident, the SLN commenced a search and rescue operation to aid the crew of the sunken trawler. This operation is being assisted by a diving team, as well as SLN ships and crafts.

The SLN has, on a number of previous occasions, informed Indian authorities to make Indian fishermen aware of the risks involved in committing such acts. Meanwhile, the relevant Indian authorities have also been informed by the SLN of the development of the latest event, and further investigations into the incident are currently underway.