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News  


 

Fifteen fishermen dead, 16 missing: Minister Rajitha
By Srian Obeyesekere
Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister, Rajitha Senaratne, yesterday refuted certain media reports of 35 missing fishermen and 17 dead at sea, and said that sixteen fishermen from Matara had gone missing and were 15 dead. Twelve of the dead were from Matara district two from Galle and one Moratuwa.
The minister also expressed concern as to why no preventive measures had been taken despite prior warnings to the Navy and its coastal guard of the impending 60 kilo meter an hour gale force winds, by NARA Research Centre. “I don’t know what action was not taken because NARA had warned the Navy and its coastal guard two days before the adverse weather patterns at sea,” Senaratne said.
Meanwhile, Navy spokesman Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya, when asked for his comments on the matter, said, “The Navy does our own monitoring and isn’t fed by any agency. But we do not monitor the coastal belt. The navy patrols only 10 miles beyond it.” However, he pointed out that what had taken place was a sudden development of the weather patterns.
He said that the ill fated fishermen had apparently been using small craft which is vulnerable to stormy seas.