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Vietnamese Fishing Vessel Carrying Sri Lankans Rescued in Vietnam Seas

On 7th November 2022, a Vietnamese-flagged fishing vessel carrying 303 Sri Lankan nationals was reported to be in distress in Vietnam Seas. The Sri Lanka Navy’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) stationed at the Navy Headquarters coordinated the rescue operation, and the group was temporarily settled in Vietnam upon rescue.

Following the rescue operation, 151 of the Sri Lankan nationals were deported from Vietnam and arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake on 28th December 2022. Additionally, 23 more Sri Lankans who were deported subsequently arrived in Katunayake on 19th April.

Upon receiving the distress signal, MRCC Colombo promptly informed MRCC Singapore, MRCC Vietnam, and MRCC Philippine for the rescue of the people in distress at sea within their respective jurisdictions. In a coordinated search and rescue operation, MRCC Singapore and Vietnam deployed MV ‘HELIOS LEADER’ to rescue the group of Sri Lankans. The rescued individuals were taken to Vietnam by a SAR vessel on 9th November and were temporarily settled there.

According to reports, the group of Sri Lankans had flown to Myanmar legally and attempted illegal migration from there with the help of international human smugglers. Among the group deported on 19th April were 15 males and 6 females, aged between 19 and 50, and two individuals below 18 years. They have been identified as residents of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Trincomalee, and Batticaloa.

The Department of Immigration and Emigration, along with other relevant authorities, will carry out the legal proceedings into the incident. The MRCC Colombo played a crucial role in coordinating and managing all aspects of the SAR effort within its region and beyond, with the support of similar stakeholders.

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