Sept 14, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government has received approval from the Cabinet of ministers to separate the Coast Guard Department form the departmental structure to bring changes to the department.
The Cabinet has approved the proposal made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the Minister of Defence and Urban Development, to amend the Coast Guard Department Act, in order to bring in amendments to meet the present day requirements of the country.
The new proposal will incorporate the organizational composition, command, discipline and authority with compliance to the functions of the coast guards.
The government says, in order to obtain provision for those required facilities, the amendment proposed envisages its separation from the departmental administrative structure.
Having felt the need to protect the coastal belt around the country to ensure Sri Lanka's sovereignty and independence, Sri Lanka launched the Coast Guard Force in March 2010.
Under the Coast Guard Act passed by the Parliament in July 2009, the Department of Coast Guard was established as an institution that imposes 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.
The Sri Lankan 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.