Arms ship destroyed - LTTE
[TamilNet, Monday, 26 June 2000, 14:30 GMT]
The MV Merces Uhana, a cargo vessel destroyed off the Jaffna coast by the Sea Tigers in a naval battle Monday, was carrying arms and ammunition, the Liberation Tigers said in a statement from their London offices. A Dvora gunboat was also seriously damaged in the 8-hour clash, the LTTE said, adding that ten Sri Lankan sailors and six Tigers were killed.
Following is the full text of the press release:
"A Sri Lankan cargo vessel carrying arms and ammunition was destroyed and an Israeli made Dvora gunboat was seriously damaged by Sea Tigers, the naval wing of the LTTE, in a ferocious gun battle in the northern high seas off the Point Pedro coast in the early hours of the morning today.
"A flotilla of Sea Tiger gunboats intercepted a convoy of Dvora naval boats escorting the merchant vessel MVMerces Uhana carrying a load of arms and ammunition and a fierce naval battle broke out.
"The battle began around 1.30a.m in the high seas about 50 nautical miles from Point Pedro harbour and continued for 8 hours. In the midst of the sea battle a Black Sea Tiger gunboat laden with explosives rammed into the cargo vessel that caught fire and was completely destroyed. A Dvora gunboat was also seriously damaged. Ten Sri Lankan naval personnel were killed in the sea battle.
On our side six Black Sea Tigers including Lt.Col. Gnaneswaran (Gnana kumar) lost their lives."