2ND LEAD (UPDATE)

Blast in seas off Kalpitti, 14 feared dead

[TamilNet, Saturday, 25 March 2006, 11:22 GMT]
Six persons, on board a boat which was being intercepted by a Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) vessel, have blown themselves sinking their boat and causing extensive damage to the approaching Dvora Fast Attack Craft with 19 SLN troopers on board, Sri Lanka military sources in Colombo said. At least eight Sri Lanka Navy sailors are reported missing. The blast occured 17 nautical miles off Kuthiraimalai in Kalpitti, 145 km north of Colombo Saturday afternoon, the sources added. A press statement issued by the Government of Sri Lanka said that the "magnitude of the expolsion and the damage it caused to the approaching Navy vessel indicated that the trawler was transporting a large quantity of explosives."

The SLN has rescued 11 personnel, while 8 are missing after the incident, the press statement said.

Kalpitti is located 145 km south of Mannar.

In the recent past, there have been several detections made by the SLN of fishing trawlers bearing fictious Sinhala names transporting weapons towards the Northern coast, the press statement said, stating that the explosion carried out by the crew of the trawler causing damage to a Naval vessel and claiming the lives of Navy personnel was a violation of the ceasefire.


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