Australian Stabicraft boats to strengthen Sri Lanka Coast Guard fleet
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Coast Guard has taken delivery of three Port class Stabicraft vessels gifted by the Australian Government to strengthen the island’s civil maritime security capabilities.
Australian High Commissioner Bryce Hutchesson said the gifting of the vessels highlights both governments’ commitment to safe and secure borders.
“Australia and Sri Lanka have a long track record of cooperation on civil maritime security issues, including working together to combat people smuggling and illegal migration,” he said at the vessel handing over ceremony.
“Australia recognises and values the contribution that the Sri Lanka Coast Guard makes to maritime security in our region. Further enhancing the Sri Lanka Coast Guard’s operational capabilities will benefit both our countries.”
Since September 2013, Sri Lankan authorities have disrupted 15 people smuggling ventures targeting Australia, with more than 500 people prevented from attempting illegal and unsafe boat journeys across the open ocean.
The defence ministry said the 6.6 metre long craft are capable of achieving a speed of 34 knots and are equipped with radar as well.
Minister-Counsellor South Asia (Home Affairs), Tara Cavanagh, explained that close cooperation with international law enforcement partners is one way Australia protects its borders.
“Our approach to border protection is multi-layered, and strong relationships with our international partners are an important first line of defence. The gifting of these three vessels is a practical example of the strength of Australia’s partnership with Sri Lanka, and underlines the key role of the Sri Lanka Coast Guard in deterring and disrupting the illegal movement of people.”