Sri Lanka Navy’s Auxiliary Ship A 521 on a dedicated search and rescue mission, this afternoon (18th October 2022) re-established communication links with the naval craft with which the Navy had no means of connection for about a month, since September 17th, when it was on a special surveillance operation off the southern coast.
After communication with the craft was lost, a dedicated search and rescue operation was launched from 26th September by Navy’s Fast Attack Craft and Offshore Patrol Vessels. The search operation was also augmented by air assets of the Sri Lanka Air Force. Further, Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) Colombo in the Navy Headquarters disseminated the developments to MRCCs in the region and naval and fishing communities being kept informed regarding the matter.
It is understood that this craft was in distress due to a mechanical failure while engaging in a special surveillance operation in southern seas. Due to bad weather at sea, the craft has drifted away for about 400 nautical miles (about 740 km) towards high seas southeast of the island and communication with the Navy has been completely lost since 17th September. After the mechanical fault was fixed by the naval personnel aboard, it has commenced heading landward where Navy’s Auxiliary Ship A 521 deployed in the search and rescue operation has spotted the craft off southern coast this afternoon (18th October) and re-established communication links.
Thus, 06 naval personnel aboard the craft were retrieved and are now being brought ashore. The Navy will carry out onward investigation into the incident in due course. Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Navy is expressing its profound gratitude to the Sri Lanka Air Force, MRCCs in the region, fishing and naval communities for assisting the search and rescue operations as well as the governments of India, Maldives, Indonesia and Australia for carrying out search operations in respective maritime borders.