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Scottish Police 'rescue' 3 Lankans from fishing vessels

Scottish Police 'rescue' 3 Lankans from fishing vessels

2012 Dec 08

Three Sri Lankans were amongst 17 contract seamen ‘rescued’ from their employers by officers of Dumfries and Galloway Police Station in Scotland. Lasantha Wellalage (24), Gayan Geewantha (28) and Damith Nayana (29) were taken away from the fishing vessels they were working last week to safety. The vessels were docked in the Port of Silloth, Cumbria, Scotland at the time of the ‘rescue’. According to the Police, these men were not arrested but were given the opportunity to leave the vessels to escape the harsh working conditions. Police took this action because they had credible information to suggest that the men were being exploited and that their human rights may have been violated by their employers. These men are being questioned by the Police about their experience and a decision will be made after investigations are completed. It is understood that some of the seamen have shown their desire to re-join the fishing vessels.

About 150 officers from Police, United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA), Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, Serious and Organized Crime Agency, Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Marine Scotland were involved in this operation.

There were two other Sri Lankans who had entered the country on September 12, 2012 to work on the same fishing vessel, but they have gone missing. Police are concerned about the wellbeing of Jeyaruban Ganesamoorthy (21), and Sugeethan Thieventhiram (23) as they were unable to locate them.

The Police wants anyone who is aware of their whereabouts to get in touch with either the Dumfries and Galloway Police Station or the Sri Lanka High Commission in London.

Chaminda Kularatne, Minister Counselor in the Sri Lanka High Commission in London contacted the Police who conducted the probe into the incident.

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