SLNS Samudura (an OPV class capital ship) sailed from Port of Trincomalee at 1215 hrs on 17th August 2018 to assist a distressed fishing vessel named “Jaya Isuru 03”which was at the centre of the Bay of Bengal. The last known location of the fishing vessel was 150 34’ N, 89048’E (653 nautical miles off Trincomalee) at 0830 hrs on 17th August 2018, on the day of the departure of SLNS Smudura from Trincomalee. As per the information received from the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DFAR), FV“Jaya Isuru 03” being towed by another fishing vessel known as “Brayan Putha 03”.
The distressed fishing vessel initially detected approximately at 2200 hrs on 19th August 2018 about 603 nautical miles off Foul Point. The towing was commenced by 0930 hrs on 20th August 2018 onwards with the assistance of nearby other Sri Lankan fishing vessels as the sea conditions were rough for the OPV to go close enough due to potential damages to the fishing vessel in trouble. While returning, as per the instructions received from the NHQ, a patient was also taken onboard SLNS Samudura from FV “Ishani Duwa 06” at the same location and the ship’s medical staff administered necessary first aid to the patient who was suffering from abdominal pain.
FV “Jaya Isuru 03” was towed up to Trincomalee on 25th August 2018. Meanwhile, the fishing vessel along with the crew members was handed over to the fisheries officials and the patient was rushed to the Naval Hospital, Eastern Naval Command for further treatment.
For this response mission SLNS Samudura spent 188 hours for both out and inward passages, 43,538 liters of fuel amounting to Rs 4,745,642/-. Altogether the Navy had incurred Rs 24,858,998/- (24.8 Million Rupees!) to reach this fishing vessel which apparently had a ceased engine due to poor maintenance.
However, the SL Navy realizing the obligations of responding to the safety of life at sea as per international conventions, commits and ensures that Sri Lankan nationals are saved from potential disastrous situations at high seas.