Sri Lanka Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessel SLNS ‘Sayura’ seized a vessel carrying a large consignment of narcotics in seas about 463 nautical miles (835km) off southern coast of the island on Saturday, 28th March 2020 around 9.30 a.m.
After having detected a Flag State-less vessel in international waters, it had been intercepted by the Navy and about 500kg of drugs believed to be crystal methamphetamine (Ice), around 500kg of substance believed to be cocaine were found onboard the suspicious vessel. It was also reported that 200 packets of babul drug and another 100g of unidentified pills of drug had been found aboard. The street value of the haul of drugs has not yet been estimated. However, it is believed that the total consignment of drugs will be valued at more than Rs. 12,500 million.
This foreign vessel is scheduled to be escorted to the Dikowita harbour by the Navy on 01st April to conduct further investigation. Further information in this regard will be provided soon. This is the third foreign vessel to be detained while transporting narcotics to Sri Lanka, during the last two months. Prior to this incident, the Navy on 22nd and 25th February intercepted 02 foreign vessels carrying narcotics to Sri Lanka and seized a Sri Lankan fishing vessel transferring narcotics from those foreign vessels. Apart from that 16 foreigners and 05 locals as well as another 06 locals involved in transfer of narcotics at sea were held in southern part of the island.
Sri Lanka Navy will continue to conduct regular search operations and crackdowns on vessels carrying narcotics in international waters. In this regard the Navy makes use of satellite technology for surveillance. Further, the Sri Lanka Navy, working in coordination with the Police Narcotics Bureau, has taken necessary steps in pursuit of foreign and local partners in the narcotic supply chain.