U.S. radars and dinghies to fight LTTE
[TamilNet, Thursday, 08 November 2007, 13:24 GMT]
Radar-based maritime surveillance system and several Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) were donated to Sri Lanka Navy by U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert O. Blake in a ceremonial function at Trincomalee on Thursday. Ambassador Blake expressed U.S. Government's hope that the radar system and the inflatable boats would help the Sri Lankan Navy to interdict arms shipments to the LTTE. The donation was part of U.S. programme to assist partner nations to deter global terrorist activity. Mr. Blake also urged Colombo to pursue a negotiated settlement and respect human rights, a press release issued by the U.S. Embassy in Colombo said.
[Photo: Sri Lanka Navy]
Full text of the press release follows:
U.S. Government Enhances Sri Lanka’s Maritime Security CapabilityColombo, November 9, 2007:
U.S. Ambassador Robert O. Blake, Jr. and Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda, Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy at the November 8 ceremony in Trincomalee to turn over equipment that will support Sri Lanka’s maritime security. [Photo: U.S. Embassy]
The rugged, seaworthy, versatile 36-foot RIB has a 200 nautical miles range at 32 knots, with a 45 knot top speed. It can carry 3,200 lbs payload, and is C-130 transportable. [Courtesy: www.fas.org]
U.S. Navy Rigid-hulled inflatable boats are high-speed, high-buoyancy all weather boats specifically designed to transport fully equipped team of eight Naval personnel. [Photo courtesy: Wikimedia / Andrew Aiello]
U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert O. Blake, Jr. formally handed over a radar-based maritime surveillance system and several Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) to the Sri Lankan Navy on November 8 at the Naval Dock Yard in Trincomalee. Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda, Commander of the Sri Lankan Navy, received the equipment on behalf of the Sri Lankan Government.
The equipment was provided under Section 1206 of the U.S. National Defense Authorization Act, which provides authority for the U.S. Department of Defense to assist in equipping and training partner nations to deter global terrorist activity.
Both the surveillance system and the inflatable boats are designed to enhance maritime security by increasing the Sri Lankan Navy’s ability to detect off-shore smuggling activity.
In his remarks at the handover ceremony, Ambassador Blake expressed the U.S. Government’s hope that the radar system and the inflatable boats would help the Sri Lankan Navy to interdict arms shipments to the LTTE, which was designated a foreign terrorist organization the United States in 1997.
The Ambassador also urged the Government of Sri Lanka to pursue a negotiated settlement to Sri Lanka’s conflict and stressed the importance of respecting fully human rights.