Sri Lanka seeks repatriation of 303 people rescued from distressed vessel

- colombogazette.com

Sri Lanka has sought the repatriation of 303 people who were rescued from a distressed vessel and taken to Viet Nam.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sri Lanka said that it continues to monitor the progress of the passengers of Sri Lankan origin who were rescued and bought to the Port of Vung Tau in Viet Nam on 08 November 2022.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the Sri Lanka Navy that they had received information about a vessel carrying approximately 303 persons believed to be Sri Lankans which was in distress in the waters between the Philippines and Viet Nam on 07 November 2022. The Sri Lanka Navy having contacted the vessel, informed that the crew had abandoned the vessel with the passengers onboard.

On the initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in coordination with the Sri Lanka Navy and the Sri Lanka Missions in the Philippines, Singapore and Viet Nam together with the regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centers (MRCC) based in Singapore, the rescue efforts were coordinated.

Subsequently, the Japanese-flagged vessel, “Helios Leader”, having been contacted by the Singapore MRCC, rescued the passengers from the distressed vessel. The passengers were handed over to Viet Nam authorities at Vung Tau Port in South Viet Nam.

The screening of the passengers will be done by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in coordination with the Viet Nam authorities and the Sri Lanka Embassy in Viet Nam.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it continues to work closely with the Sri Lanka Missions in the Philippines, Singapore, Viet Nam and IOM for early repatriation, once the screening process to ascertain their nationality and other formalities are completed. (Colombo Gazette)

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