Long ago and far away

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Sri Lanka: Tamil "Sea Tigers" turning to piracy?


Reported here:
A maritime distress message released by a Jordon merchant vessel "Faraha III" this morning indicated that the ship is under an armed pirate attack in Mulaithiuvu Sea, the naval sources said.

The message originally received by the Maritime Rescuing Coordinating Centre, Falmouth in UK , said that a group of armed pirates had got onboard the ship around 3.30a.m (Saturday the 23rd of December) and began marauding the ship's cargo.

The Naval sources added that these "armed pirates" mentioned by the ship's crew must be none other than the LTTE terrorists since the ship had drifted towards the LTTE dominated coast in North- Eastern Sri Lanka. The present location of the ship is 3 Nautical miles east of Mulaithivu.
The Tigers deny it is piracy and report the "rescue" of the crew see here:
Tamil Tiger rebels say they have rescued 25 sailors from a crippled Jordanian ship off Sri Lanka's north-eastern coast, dismissing government accusations that they staged a "pirate attack".

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) spokesman Rasiah Ilanthiriyan says the seamen are being taken to safety despite rough seas.

"We noticed a ship drifting in our waters and we also saw suspicious activity of the Sri Lankan Navy [and] we boarded the ship to rescue the crew," he said.

But Sri Lanka's Defence Ministry says a distress message indicating that the vessel was "under armed pirate attack" was received by the Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre in Britain, which conveyed it to the Sri Lankan naval authorities.
UPDATE: An explanation of "territorial waters" here.

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