Defence Ministry to launch investigations into Avant Garde floating armoury

Defence Ministry to launch investigations into Avant Garde floating armoury

Written by Staff Writer

12 Oct, 2015 | 9:17 pm

The Ministry of Defence has decided to launch investigations into the Avant Garde floating armoury that entered Sri Lankan waters without prior notification.

Secretary of Defence, Karunasena Hettiarachchi, said that investigations will be launched in the near future.

The Avant Garde-owned floating armoury, which was in close proximity to the Red Sea, was taken into the custody of the Sri Lankan Navy on October 5, after it had entered the seas off Galle.

The vessel was taken into the custody of the Sri Lanka Navy on charges of breaching maritime boundaries regulations, and providing false information.

The investigations report which was formulated by the Navy, in this regard, was handed over to the Defence Secretary on Monday.

Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne said that the report consists of facts detailing violation of laws by the vessel in question.

The investigation report has revealed that permission was not granted to transfer the firearms which were aboard the Avant Garde vessel, to a different location. The report goes onto note that the responsibility of protecting a floating armoury lies with the Navy and that the Navy would escort the floating armoury if notified, earlier.

The report also outlines that the captain of the floating armoury had deliberately provided the Navy with false information even though a maritime security company is under duty to provide with true information under the naval and international maritime laws.

The report had also highlighted that initial communication revealed, that the captain of the vessel was a Sri Lankan national, even though his true identity was verfied to be that of a Ukranian national and the captain of the vessel has been instructed by the mother company not to respond to queries posed by the Navy.

Adding that the Navy is vested with the powers to drown vessels bearing arms which threaten National security, the Navy commander also drew reference to previous instances where the Navy had resorted to such actions.

Meanwhile, Director General of the Sri Lanka Coast Guard, Rear Admiral Samantha Wimalathunga said that the officials of the department will be undertaking this task together with the Navy officials. The Director General goes onto note that the Avant Garde vessel is currently under the custody of the Sri Lanka Coast Guard.

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