LTTE registers protest with SLMM on SLN's sinking of vessel
[TamilNet, Sunday, 15 June 2003, 15:38 GMT]
Thamilselvan, head of the political wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), in a letter addressed to General Tryggve Tellefsen, head of Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, pointed out that Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) is playing a delaying game with the SLMM to allow the oil spills in the actual position in international waters where the vessel was sunk and requested the SLMM to "take immediate steps to ensure the safety of our cadres and inform us their whereabouts at the quickest time possible."
Political Head quarters,
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam,
15. 05. 2003.
General Tryggve Tellefsen
Head of SLMMSubject:
Sinking of LTTE oil tanker MT Shoshin by SLN in international waters in the Eastern sea.
Further to the above incident on the morning of 14.06.2003 and the developments consequent to our communication to you, we wish to place before you, facts pertaining to the unlawful action of the SLN.
This vessel, when it was sailing 265nm off the East coast (1147N.8431E) the Srilankan Navy intercepted and wanted to examine the vessel. The captain of our vessel, at about 07.00 hours, agreed to comply with the request, while at the same time brought it to the notice of the Peace Secretariat. This was, in turn, conveyed to the SLMM. At about 07.30 SLN vessels bearing Nos P701, P330, P332, P341 and P340 approached our vessel, positioning 1000m away and started firing. After a few minutes of firing our crew members were requested to use life-saving boats and embark the SLN vessel. This was complied with by the crew.
We requested the SLMM to rush to the spot, investigate the matter and ensure the safety of our cadres. The SLN has taken the SLMM members to a spot 110nm from the shore and pointed out the alleged location where our vessel was sunk. Apparently, there was no trace that could be observed by the SLMM members. Having sunk our vessel in the international waters, 265nm off the coast, the SLN has attempted to make the SLMM monitors believe its concocted story that our vessel was intercepted and sunk at a distance of 110nm, well within its territorial waters and not in the international waters. However if one is to go by the story presented by the SLN there still remains an issue that should be paid careful attention; the SLN should have first communicated with the SLMM before deciding on their attack. All these are pointers the fact that the SLN acted arbitrarily and shifted location to suit the story in the same way as happened earlier in March 2003.
Since we are aware of this falsehood, we provided the SLMM monitors with the right bearing of the location (1147N.8431E). We reliably understand that the SLN, consequent to our supplying the bearings, took the SLMM monitors on a journey to the location. Half way through they reported that they cannot proceed that far due to rough seas. Obviously, what one would anticipate in a sea location where an oil tanker was sunk, is an oil-spill trace and the SLN, mindful of the dire consequences if the truth becomes evident, played another falsehood and returned half way, anticipating of course that the oil-spill trace would go away with their planned delay. To buy time for the oil-spill to disappear, the SLN played a delay tactic on the SLMM.
We wish to lodge our strong protest to the cavalier fashion in which the SLN has acted in destroying our vessel in the international waters, violating the international maritime laws, concocting a story that the incident took place 110 nm offshore, criminally abducting our cadres who are the crew members and denying same and adopting a delay tactic to wipe off possible trace of oil spill. We hold the SLN fully responsible for the unlawful destruction of our vessel and criminal abduction of our cadres and request of you therefore to commence meaningful investigation on the premises enumerated above while at the same time take immediate steps to ensure the safety of our cadres and inform us their whereabouts at the quickest time possible.
We are afraid, that SLN is working hard on a sabotage course of the entire peace process and wish to advise you that the SLN will have to bear responsibility for any dire consequences that may arise as a result of their action. Please favour us with an early report, taking into consideration the seriousness of the incident and our concern for the lives of our cadres.
Head of Political Wing,
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
14.06.03 LTTE blames SLN for sinking of merchant vessel
14.06.03 SLN sinks LTTE vessel in international waters