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* Newly launched Sri Lanka Coast Guard Force to curtail drug smuggling and human trafficking
Fri, Mar 5, 2010, 08:55 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 05, Colombo: Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the newly established Coast Guard Force can effectively curb the Human smuggling and drug peddling activities across the country's seas.

Ceremonially launching the newest addition to country's security forces at the Galle harbor yesterday, the Commander-In-Chief said the establishment of a Coast Guard Force was a long felt need and protecting the coastal belt around the country will ensure Sri Lanka's sovereignty and independence.

The President pointed out that human smuggling has made an adverse impact on the relations with other countries as the people attempt to enter countries like Australia, Italy, and Indonesia.

The President said this situation was brought under control with the assistance of the Sri Lanka Navy and hoped that this illegal activity can effectively be limited with the new Coast Guard Unit.

The New unit is headed by Director General of Sri Lanka Coast Guard Rear Admiral Daya Dharmapriya.

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Navy Commander Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe, Governor of the Southern Province Ms. Kumari Balasooriya, Governor of the Eastern Province Rear Admiral Mohan Wijewickrama, senior naval officers and diplomats participated in the event.

The Coast Guard Act was passed by the Parliament on 9th July 2009.The Department of Coast Guard is an institution that impose peace in the territorial seas around the island and by the Act, Coast Guard officers are empowered to arrest the personnel, vessels, and ships which engage in illegal activities.

This Coast Guard Force will protect the coastal belt around the country and maritime zone in extent of 21,700 square kilometers and maritime economic zone of 465,800 square kilometers within the country's territorial water.

It will also to assist Sri Lanka fishermen in distress while fishing in the deep sea and provide security to the ships transporting goods and passengers.

(Picture by Chandana Perera)

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