June 25, Colombo: The Sri Lanka Navy today in accordance with naval traditions welcomed the arrival of the second patrol boat gifted by Australia.
The second of the two Bay Class patrol boats gifted by Australia to Sri Lanka Navy arrived today at the Port of Colombo Wednesday, June 25.
Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage, Chief of Staff of the Navy, Rear Admiral Jayantha Perera and Commander Western Naval Area, Rear Admiral Sirimevan Ranasinghe were present at the ceremonial reception.
The Navy Commander addressing the occasion commended the Commanding Officer and the crew for bringing the patrol boat safely from Cairns, Australia to Colombo Port and thanked the two officials of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service for the assistance given during the long voyage.
The Navy will formerly deploy the two gifted vessels soon after their commissioning, the Navy Commander said.
The deed of transfer for the second patrol boat was signed by the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy and the Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka at the Naval Headquarters in Colombo on 03rd June 2014. Subsequently, the flag transfer ceremony signaling the formal hand over took place on the same day in Cairns, Australia.
The Bay Class boat renamed P351 had served the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service under the name "Hervey Bay" before being gifted to Sri Lanka. It is 38.2 meters long and has a 2.3 meter draft. With a maximum speed of 24 knots, the boat can cover a range of 3,000 nautical miles.
The Navy Commander received the first Australian Bay Class patrol vessel at a ceremony held in Cairns, Australia on 29th March 2014. It arrived at the Port of Colombo on 24th April 2014 and named P 350.
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbot while in Sri Lanka to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting last November announced that two Bay class patrol boats will be given to Sri Lanka to boost the efforts by the island's Navy to prevent people smuggling in the Indian Ocean.
The fully furbished Australian Bay-class patrol vessels are expected to substantially augment the Navy's capacity as they can cover a large area of the Indian Ocean and serve Sri Lanka's Search and Rescue Area more effectively.
The gift symbolizes the commitment of the key partners in enhancing maritime security in the region and the bilateral cooperation that exists between the two governments in combating people smuggling, the Navy said.