SLNS Samudura (P 621) celebrated her 7th anniversary since commissioning in Sri Lanka Navy on 21st April 2012 in Trincomalee with the participation of family members of the serving crew. Berthed in Inner-yard Jetty, Samudura look splendid in pristine calm waters of inner harbour as crowd started pouring to take part in day-long celebrations.
This Ex United State Coast Guard ship, granted under US Government’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme in 2005 was then steered by a Sri Lanka Naval crew from Norfolk, USA to Colombo covering some 10,000 nautical miles in 2005. This passage remains to be the longest voyage undertaken totally by a Sri Lanka Navy crew up to this date. The ship was commissioned as SLNS Samudura by then Minister of Public Security, Law & Order, Hon. Rathnasiri Wickramanayake at Port of Colombo on 21st April 2005.
Since then the ship played a pivotal role in ending over two and half decades of terrorism in the Sri Lankan soil by being a part of the Task Force that sailed to track & destroy the terrorist’s floating warehouses of destructive weaponries. Furthermore the ship also played ambassadorial role by paying goodwill visit to regional countries in fostering friendship and co-operation. Despite being the oldest vessel of the fleet, the ship second to none in her achievements both in wartime & peace time. Today the ship is being commanded by Captain YN Jayarathna and discharges her duties in maritime surveillance and policing.
The 7th anniversary celebrated this year was very conspicuous because of the participation of the family members of the serving crew. They for the first time had a glimpse in to the day to day affairs of their Father, Husband, Son & Brother and also were offered with a three-hour cruise onboard covering the inner harbour, outer harbour and the Flagstaff Point; which also is called Koneshwaram because of the famous Hindu Kovil. The crew took time to take their loved ones around the ship to various quarters and explained the surrounding beauty of the Trincomalee Harbour in an everlasting experience enjoyed in company of near & dear. The ship hosted all 253 family members for a traditional breakfast table, sumptuous lunch & also had few entertainment programmes run in parallel.
The Commander Eastern Naval Area, Rear Admiral Jayanath Colombage & the Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Fleet, Commodore Sarath Dissanayake graced the opening ceremony by joining the breakfast table with the crew & families. They exchanged views with members of the families and praised the ship’s organizing team on the success of the event. At the end of the day families indicated their appreciation & also said that they now understand the Navy better because of this unique experience. Several family members including a little daughter of a crew member delivered short speeches expressing happiness of their experience and introduction to a warship.
SLNS Samudura, formerly United State Coast Guard Cutter Courageous has served with distinction in US waters too during the 30 years of meritorious service winning many medals and commendations in maritime law enforcement, search & rescue & defence readiness in Gulf of Mexico & Caribbean seas. Today Samudura serves the nation with same role in upholding Sri Lankan maritime jurisdiction in Indian Ocean and also perform as a platform for marine scientific research, upholding the traditions & virtues of which the ship is build upon.
Rear Admiral SS Ranasinghe, Commodore DC Gunawardana, Commodore KKJ De Silva, Commodore K Samaraweera , Commodore HMM Gamage and Captain YN Jayarathna ( Present Commanding Officer) Have had the privilege of commanding SLNS Samudura in her distinguished service with SLN over the years.
Naval Today Staff , May 09, 2012; Image: navy