Commander of the Navy embarks on official visit to Trincomalee South

The Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera embarked on a formal visit to Trincomalee South within the Eastern Naval Command on 10th June 2024. The purpose of the visit was to assess the status of important welfare and operational matters within the area. In addition, he also addressed a cross section of officers and sailors, regarding operational readiness and future prospects of the organization.

During this visit, the Commander of the Navy was accompanied by Commander Eastern Naval Area, Rear Admiral Kanchana Banagoda, Naval Assistant to the Commander of the Navy, Rear Admiral Kosala Warnakulasooriya, Naval Officer in Charge (Trincomalee South), Commodore Rohan Dissanayake and a group of senior officers of the command. After having inspected the operational activities as well as training and welfare facilities of SLNS Parakumba and SLNS Vidura, he gave essential directives to ensure the swift and efficient execution of those activities. Next, the Navy Chief addressed officers who were from naval establishments and detachments within Trincomalee South, discussing the Navy's operational readiness, future plans, and strategies for managing challenges.

In his address, the Commander of the Navy emphasized that as the country gradually recovers from a challenging period, and the Navy is playing a crucial role in ensuring national security by effectively adapting to various economic constraints. He also emphasized that every member of the Navy is expected to manage their personal finances responsibly and contribute to the future of the organization. ‘Despite economic challenges, the Navy remained committed to maritime security and would persist in combating illegal activities such as drug trafficking and unlawful fishing. The Navy would also collaborate with other security forces to ensure public safety during emergencies and natural disasters’, he stated.

He also said that ‘Sri Lanka Navy's Strategy 2030’ for the Sri Lanka Navy and Coast Guard was scientifically developed to ensure that the forces' capabilities and manpower remain at the optimum levels, aligning with the vision of transforming Sri Lanka into a developed nation. Vice Admiral Perera explained that the presentation outlined the anticipated changes in the manpower and administrative functions of the Sri Lanka Navy and Coast Guard by 2030 and beyond. It also detailed the adoption of modern techniques and technologies for coastal and maritime surveillance activities, he said. He also stressed that to meet the goals of the strategic plan, naval personnel must acquire new knowledge and skills. To achieve this, he emphasized the importance of continuing to prioritize advanced training programmes both home and away.

Further, Vice Admiral Perera highlighted the Sri Lanka Navy's global acclaim, attributing it to the Navy's efforts in safeguarding the maritime space, combating illegal activities not only in local waters but also in the expansive international seas. Additionally, he praised the Navy for ensuring the safety of the fishing and maritime communities. He further announced that the Sri Lanka Navy is set to receive substantial support from both regional and extra-regional maritime entities to enhance its hydrographic services. This boost will enable the Navy to generate foreign exchange by creating and updating sea charts, thereby contributing to the growth of the blue economy centered around the maritime sector.

Adding more, the Navy Commander highlighted the Navy's infrastructure development efforts aimed at boosting the maritime tourism industry. He emphasized that these initiatives would significantly benefit the industry, creating a wide array of future employment opportunities not only for civilians but also for naval personnel. He also mentioned that the Sri Lanka Navy's amicable ties and collaboration with regional and extra-regional naval forces facilitate the exchange of critical operational information and ensure support during emergencies. These relationships are poised to benefit both the Navy and the nation at large, he opined.

Despite the Sri Lanka Navy's significant contributions to the nation's maritime goals, a few personnel, facing economic hardships, engage in illicit activities to quickly earn money. This behaviour not only tarnishes the Navy's image but also impacts their family life, the Navy Chief said. Accordingly, he stressed the importance of avoiding such actions and instead urged for a more thoughtful and understanding approach on such matters. He also highlighted that the Navy Welfare Directorate and the Seva Vanitha Unit have implemented welfare initiatives to cater to the needs of naval personnel. Additionally, he mentioned upcoming projects, including the expansion of married quarters facilities in the Western and Southern Naval Commands. Moreover, a new investment plan will offer personnel who would join the Navy in the future the opportunity to own a house upon leaving the service, the Navy Chief opined. Therefore, Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera emphasized the importance of resolute commitment from all naval personnel to fulfill the future role of the Navy through a deep understanding of their responsibilities.