Human tragedy in waters off Mullaiththeevu, 20 perished, 71 rescued in drifting vessel

[TamilNet, Monday, 03 March 2008, 07:53 GMT]
A drifting vessel, said to be carrying illegal immigrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh to Malaysia and Thailand, was rescued by Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) Monday morning, 150 nautical miles off Mullaiththeevu. 20 passengers were already dead and the remaining 71 in serious condition are being transported to Trincomalee Harbour. The vessel was noticed by fishermen, according to SLN sources. It was reportedly drifting for 9-days in the Bay of Bengal which is closely monitored by the navies of India and Sri Lanka in collaboration.

The wooden trawler had left Myanmar on 09 February with 67 Myanmar nationals, picking up 24 more passengers, nationals of Bangladesh, on the way.

20 people, including 17 Myanmar citizens and 3 Bangladesh citizens were said to have died due to starvation and dehydration, according to the SLN.


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