City of Trinco sails under ICRC flag
[TamilNet, Monday, 07 August 2000, 15:55 GMT]
The passenger ferry "City of Trinco" sailed from Trincomalee Monday evening under the protection of the International Committee of the Red Cross transporting 350 civilians to the Jaffna peninsula. Mr.Harasha Gunewardene, Information Officer of the ICRC said that the organisation has received written security assurances from the Liberation Tigers and the Government for safe passage during the voyages.
According to the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Ministry of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Development of the Northern Region and the ICRC on July 26 in Colombo, military personnel (either in uniform or civvies) are not permitted to travel on the ship. Arms and ammunition on board or escorts by security personnel on board are strictly prohibited and there will be no military escort by the security forces of the ship, Mr.Gunewardene further said at a press conference held Monday morning at Seven Island Hotel in Trincomalee.
The vessel City of Trinco, clearly marked with Red Cross emblem and flag, is exclusively meant for the transportation of civilians between Trincomalee and Jaffna. At present, the ports of departure and arrival will be Trincomalee and Point Pedro as agreed upon between the naval authorities and the ICRC.
An ICRC conveyer will always be on board during the voyages and will have overall responsibility on all matters directly related to the protection of the ship, said Mr.Gunewardene.