Sri Lanka continue to monitor the progress of the passengers of Sri Lankan origin who were rescued and bought to the Port of Vung Tau in Vietnam on Tuesday (8), the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.
They said the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) was alerted about a vessel carrying approximately 303 people believed to be Sri Lankans that was in distress in the waters between the Philippines and Vietnam on Monday (7).
The SLN having contacted the vessel, informed that the crew had abandoned the vessel with the
passengers onboard. On the initiative of the Ministry, in coordination with the SLN and the Sri Lanka Missions in the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam, together with the regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) based in Singapore, the rescue efforts were coordinated.
Subsequently, the Japanese-flagged vessel, “Helios Leader”, was contacted by the Singapore-based MRCC, rescued the passengers from the distressed vessel. The passengers were handed over to the authorities at Vung Tau Port in South Vietnam.
The screening of the passengers will be done by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in coordination with the Vietnam authorities and the Sri Lanka Embassy in Vietnam.
The Ministry continues to work closely with the Sri Lanka Missions in the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, and the IOM for early repatriation once the screening process to ascertain their nationality and other formalities are completed.
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