Sri Lanka on Saturday said its Navy, along with the Indian Navy, was engaged in search operations to rescue two of the five crew members of Wind Marine 8, a Sri Lankan fishing vessel which was apprehended on December 9 by the Indian Coast Guard.
The Foreign Ministry said the vessel was apprehended on December 9 by the Indian Coast Guard on suspicion of illegal fishing off the east coast of India. Some members of its crew reportedly over-powered two Indian Coast Guard sailors who were stationed on board to direct the boat to an Indian port.
“This act of overpowering and holding hostage the Indian Coast Guard sailors which occurred in the general area approximately 180 nautical miles north of Chennai, led to a situation of Indian Naval vessels being deployed in the vicinity,” it said.
The Foreign Ministry said the two Indian sailors had been set free but unfortunately adverse weather conditions developed in the area.
“The Sri Lanka Navy and the Indian Navy are now engaged in search operations, to rescue the crew of Wind Marine 8 from the serious difficulties the vessel appears to be encountering due to rough seas and heavy winds,” said the Ministry.
Separately, the Sri Lankan Navy said its commander, Navy Vice-Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe, met representatives of fishing societies in Trincomalee and discussed matters relating to welfare measures extended to the fishing community and ways of further improving those to uplift their livelihood.