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 Post subject: Ex-US Coast Guard vessel leads attack - LTTE ship sunk
 Post Posted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 6:01 pm 
Lankan navy intercepts alleged rebel arms shipment, 8 rebels killed in gunbattle

Since the destruction of MV Ahat off Point Pedro by the Indian Navy on January 16, 1993, the SLN has destroyed six LTTE merchant vessels. Of them, two vessels, Koimer and Shoshin were destroyed off Mullaitivu during Ranil Wickremesinghe’s tenure as the Premier. MV Koimer was engaged on March 10, 2003 and Shoshin on June 14, 2003. Latest destruction brought the number of merchant vessels destroyed during the four-year Oslo-arranged ceasefire to three. The LTTE lost three other merchant vessels Horizon off Nayaru (14.02.1996), Fratzescom off Mullaitivu (2.11.1997) and Mariamman off Andaman Islands (11.03.1998).

@ The Hindu / 17 Sep 2006

Colombo, Sept. 17 (AP): The Sri Lankan Navy, backed by air strikes, severely damaged a ship carrying weapons for Tamil Tiger rebels and killed eight insurgents off the east coast on Sunday, the military said.

The ship, said to have been sailing the separatists' flag and carrying heavy arms, ignored warning shots to stop and be searched and opened fire on the navy, the chief military spokesman, Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe, said.

A high-seas gunbattle ensued with the air force called in to bomb the ship, he said. The suspected insurgents were still firing from the remains of their ship, he said.

The navy said it suffered no casualties.

A military official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the navy believed it had killed 8 of 12 crew members and that the battle was still ongoing, eight hours after first contact.

The vessel was spotted 120 miles (220 kilometers) off Sri Lanka's eastern coast near disputed territory where Tamil Tigers and government have been engaged in fierce fighting in recent months.

Navy Commander D.K.P. Dassanayake said the crew refused to identify the ship and then tried to escape. Navy intelligence indicated it was carrying artillery and missiles, he said.

Rebel officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have been fighting since 1983 for a separate homeland for the country's 3.2 million ethnic Tamil minority in the northeast, citing decades of discrimination by the Sinhalese majority.
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Courageous action
Ex-US Coast Guard vessel leads attack

Acting on intelligence reports, SLNS Samudura (ex-US Coast Guard vessel Courageous-P 621) made the initial contact with the LTTE vessel off Sangamankanda. SLNS Ranajaya, a Chinese built fast gun boat (FGB), had joined the action hours after the initial detection. Although 11 vessels which included two stand-by vessels were assigned for the task, only two vessels, Offshore Vessel Samudura and FGB Ranajaya took part in the actual battle.

Source: News Agencies

Sunday’s detection and destruction of an ‘LTTE arms smuggling ship’ off Kalmunai on the eastern coast did not come as a surprise. The navy knew of the possibility of arms smuggling to replenish the LTTE fighting units and was prepared for it.

The recent engagements at Mavil-aru, Muttur and the high intensity battle for Jaffna peninsula necessitated the procurement of arms, ammunition and equipment by the LTTE on an urgent basis. And the ambitious attempt was made as the Norwegians were pushing for an early resumption of talks, preferably in Oslo.

Ex-US Coast Guard vessel leads attack

Acting on intelligence reports, the SLN struck on Sunday. SLNS Samudura (ex-US Coast Guard vessel Courageous-P 621) made the initial contact with the LTTE vessel off Sangamankanda. The vessel engaged the enemy craft as it made a desperate bid to get away. Naval reinforcements moved into action as Kfirs used cluster bombs against the slow moving target. The Kfirs crippled the vessel thereby facilitating the naval action. If must be mentioned that former UNP Minister Milinda Moragoda played a pivotal role in acquiring the vessel

The 210 feet long P 621 was commissioned as SLNS Samudura on April 21 last year. Sunday’s action off the east coast was the vessel’s first major engagement since its deployment here.

SLNS Ranajaya, a Chinese built fast gun boat (FGB), had joined the action hours after the initial detection. Although 11 vessels which included two stand-by vessels were assigned for the task, only two vessels, Offshore Vessel Samudura and FGB Ranajaya took part in the actual battle.

Sea battle off Kalmunai

The navy top brass was tight lipped on receiving overseas intelligence of ship movements. The vessel’s crew traded fire with Samudura and Haizhui class fast gun boat Ranajaya. "We believe they fired 23 mm cannon," an authoritative navy official said. He expressed delight that they with the support of the airforce delivered a crushing blow.

The navy believes that a senior LTTE leader, believed to be a close associate of their intelligence wing leader Pottu Amman, was on board the vessel. "We challenged the ship’s crew to stop and identify the vessel via international maritime radio channel-channel 16, to which the ship did not respond," a senior navy officer said. Security forces swung into action after the ship’s crew ignored the order to change course and proceed towards Trincomalee. The vessel which did not fly a flag went down approximately 120 nautical miles east of Kalmunai around 4. 30 pm.

It is believed all 15 Tiger cadres on board were sunk with the ship.

LTTE loses third MV during ceasefire

Since the destruction of MV Ahat off Point Pedro by the Indian Navy on January 16, 1993, the SLN destroyed, in some instances with the support of the SLAF, six LTTE merchant vessels. Of them, two vessels, Koimer and Shoshin were destroyed off Mullaitivu during Ranil Wickremesinghe’s tenure as the Premier. MV Koimer was engaged on March 10, 2003 and Shoshin on June 14, 2003. The then Defence Minister Tilak Marapana strongly backed the SLN’s right to engage the LTTE vessels. Yesterday’s destruction brought the number of merchant vessels destroyed during the four-year Oslo-arranged ceasefire to three. The LTTE lost three other merchant vessels Horizon off Nayaru (14.02.1996), Fratzescom off Mullaitivu (2.11.1997) and Mariamman off Andaman Islands (11.03.1998).

The navy top brass believes that the LTTE was bringing in a sizeable consignment of artillery rounds and possibly a missile system. The LTTE is believed to have taken delivery of the arms consignment in the Indonesian waters.


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 Post subject: LTTE arms ship came from Indonesian port
 Post Posted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 11:42 pm 
LTTE arms ship came from Indonesian port

PK Balachandran
Colombo, September 19, 2006
@ HT


The Sri Lankan Defence spokesman, Keheliya Rambukwella, said in Colombo on Tuesday, that the LTTE arms ship, which the Sri Lankan Navy and Air Force sunk about 100 nautical miles off Batticaloa in Sri Lanka on Sunday, was coming from an Indonesian port.

The gun runner was detected by a friendly foreign government, and the vital intelligence was communicated to the Sri Lankan authorities, he said.

From the look of the vessel and the explosions, which took place on it, it was evident that it had board a large quantity of artillery shells and SAM missiles, Rambukwella said.

The LTTE's move to equip itself to face the Sri Lankan Air Force in any future military conflict had thus floundered.

The absence of anti-aircraft missiles had been a major chink in the LTTE's armour in the recent series of military operations.

The downed gun runner was of a length of 30 to 35 metres and was armed with two 23 mm double barrel guns.

"The 23 mm guns had kept us engaged for four and half hours," said Commodore DKP Dassanayake, the naval spokesman.

He explained that the under International Maritime Law, the navy of a country could intercept a vessel in international waters and seek its details. And the vessel was obliged to provide the details.

But in the case of the downed LTTE vessel, it did not respond to a call to stop. Instead, it opened fire.

Subjected to heavy fire, the Navy had to call for help from the Trincomalee naval and air bases.

The Air Force's Kfir supersonic aircraft crippled one of the vessel's engines making it a sitting duck for the two Sri Lankan ships and aircraft.

The navy did not plan to recover the sunken armaments because the depth was too much, Com Dassanayake said.

It may be recalled that in 1993, MV Ahat, with the LTTE commander Sathasivam Krishnakumar alias Kittu and a large quantity of armaments on board, was sunk by the Indian Navy in the seas off the northern Jaffna coast.


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 Post subject: India tipped off Lanka about suspected arms shipment of Tige
 Post Posted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 11:44 pm 
India tipped off Lanka about suspected arms shipment of Tigers

@ The Hindu / Sep 19, 2006

Colombo, Sept. 19 (PTI): Acting on a tip-off from Indian authorities, Sri Lankan forces have sunk a ship believed to be ferrying arms and ammunition for Tamil Tiger rebels, a top defence source here said today.

The Sri Lankan military was able to intercept the unnamed vessel some 125 miles off the island's coast because of the good intelligence which came from India, the source said.

"We have information of a total of three such ships and we have now taken out one."

Meanwhile, the government's defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters here that the ship sunk by war planes and naval gun boats on Sunday had originated from a port in Indonesia.

Rambukwella, who is also Policy Planning Minister, said Colombo was in touch with Indonesian authorities to get more details.

He said the ship that was sunk on Sunday was believed to be carrying about 150 to 200 tonnes of arms and ammunition.

The government believed that the Tigers may have been trying to smuggle in anti-aircraft missiles and heavy artillery. Some of the artillery fired by Tigers in recent months had been made in China, he said.
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