The Sri Lankan Navy intercepted a people smuggling boat attempting to come to Australia illegally in the morning of August 15.
Eighteen people who had boarded a fishing vessel in Valaichchenai on the country’s east coast were detained some 40 nautical miles off Batticaloa before they were able to commence their voyage.
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton has praised the work of Australia’s regional partners.
“The Australian Government thanks the Sri Lankan Government for its continued commitment to stamping out the criminal act of people smuggling,” Dutton said.
“Whether in waters off Sri Lanka or en route to Australia, the message to people smugglers is clear; you will not succeed. Since Operation Sovereign Borders began in 2013 every Sri Lankan boat that has attempted to come to Australia illegally, has failed,” Dutton added.
Following the arrests, Sri Lanka Navy warned the general public not to involve in high risk sea-borne migration to Australia based on false information provided by human smugglers.