Written by Staff Writer
20 Feb, 2017 | 9:00 pm
In the aftermath of the Kalutara boat tragedy, which cost the lives of eleven people, Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera says steps will be taken to cancel the licences of passenger transport boats which fail to follow the guidelines outlined by the ministry.
Police Media Spokesperson DIG Priyantha Jayakody says attention has been turned towards taking action against the individuals responsible for the tragedy.
Meanwhile, our correspondent says the search and rescue operation is ongoing.
A number of families from the Beruwala Fisheries Community, set out in a procession of boats, as part of the celebration of an annual feast in Beruwala.
News1st received photographs of the group before the procession began.One of the boats which was carrying 41 passengers turned turtle during the procession.
Lifeguard Supervisor SSSP S.H. Chulasiri stated that the cause of the accident was the overload of passengers on the boat.
At a meeting held at the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development it was revealed that the boat which was involved in the accident yesterday was unsuitable for passenger transport as it was a vessel used for fishing in deep seas.
The ministry said such a boat could carry only around four to five persons.
It further stated that it is compulsory for passengers to be given life jackets when travelling in passenger vessels, and that none of the passengers aboard the ill-fated boat were not provided life jackets.
While transporting passengers on fishing vessels should not be permitted, exceeding the passenger limit is prohibited according to the Ministry guidelines.
The subject minister has instructed for the fishing licence of the vessel to be cancelled.
The accident which took place off the seas of Kalutara claimed the lives of eleven persons while 29 others were rescued and have been hospitalised.
The deceased were residents of Beruwala and Kalutara.The remains were handed over to relatives today.
The youngest victim who lost his life is eight-year-old Yunal Buddika. Yunal was a resident of the Bandarawatta area in Beruwala.
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