Saturday, March 22, 2008

Warning to SSCP security: Lanka vessel sinks in sea-mine blast

Warning to SSCP security: Lanka naval vessel sinks in sea-mine blast, 10 missing
22 Mar 2008, 1215 hrs IST , AGENCIES

COLOMBO: The LTTE said it sunk a Sri Lankan naval vessel early Saturday in a suicide attack where three rebels lost their lives.

The Navy however said there was no confrontation with the LTTE and the P438 Fast Attack Craft (FAC) deployed in the north-eastern coastal waters off Nayaru sunk due to a sea mine explosion around 2.00 am.

Six crew members of the vessel including the officer-in charge have been rescued and search operation is underway for other survivors, the Navy said.

The LTTE said it attacked and sunk the FAC between Mullaithivu and Nayaru. "Three Black Sea Tigers were killed in action," the pro-rebel website Tamilnet quoted LTTE sources in Wanni as saying.

However, the navy maintained that no LTTE sea craft was present in the area when its vessel sank.

The boat was caught in the explosion of a sea mine "unscrupulously" laid by the LTTE in a bid to avenge repeated losses in the recent past, navy sources said.

"The impending consequence (of the blast) was unavoidable peril leaving the crew with no alternative other than abandoning the craft," an official said.

"They then got onto life rafts and started drifting and six members of the crew have thereafter been rescued by other boats," he said.

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