Oct 28, Colombo: Sri Lanka police say three crew members who were missing following the hijacking on the fishing trawler were not among the 14 asylum seekers who were deported by Australia.
Police spokesman Senior Superintendent of Police Prishantha Jayakody has confirmed to media that the three crew members who were reportedly attacked and thrown overboard by the asylum seekers were still missing and presumed dead.
The 14 individuals, who have sailed to Australia after hijacking the trawler from the fishermen in the mid sea, have been handed over to a special police unit in Matara by the Criminal Investigations Department.
The Australian authorities intercepted the Sri Lankan boat named Chejan with 15 people onboard north-west of the Cocos Islands late on Thursday night and returned 14 individuals back to Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan authorities have charged the 15 asylum seekers with attempted murder and robbery for their mid-sea attack on October 13 on the fishermen and robbing their trawler after the fishermen were thrown overboard.
According to the police spokesman the trawler left Kudawella in Matara on October 13 with six men onboard. Two of the fishermen who were attacked and thrown overboard were rescued by merchant vessels and Sri Lankan Navy brought them home. The skipper has reportedly joined the asylum seekers with the modern trawler to sail to Australia.