Sri Lanka Navy completely destroyed three large LTTE ships carrying arms and ammunitions in the high seas; about 1200 kilometers (600 nautical miles) south east off Sri Lanka's southern most tip, Dondra, thus, foiling their latest attempt in smuggling lethal weapons in to un-cleared areas. The destruction deals a severe blow to the LTTE’s international arms shipments network and drastically reduces its fire power.

For over one and half years, Sri Lanka Navy has been aware of the modus operandi of the LTTE tigers after having scrupulously analyzed the intelligence gathered on the LTTE's clandestine activities across international waters violating the international maritime laws. Accordingly, a naval task force was formed consisting of four SLNS ships, namely SLNS Sayura, SLNS Suranimala, SLNS Samudura and SLNS Shakthi supported by two logistics vessels, A 520 and A 521. The task force, which was on high alert to intercept and destroy the enemy vessels, successfully completed its destruction mission within 24 hours, depriving the LTTE three of their remaining four merchant vessels.

The SLN vessels initially sailed 200 nautical miles in the exclusive economic zone south east of Sri Lanka to detect the LTTE ships. They moved further 200 nautical miles in the high seas to sight the vessels which were sailing without a flag displaying neither a name nor a port of registration. SLN vessels, in accordance with the International Maritime laws, issued warnings to all the LTTE ships prior to engagement. The warnings had been issued over the international maritime frequency, Channel 16, first in English and then in Tamil to ensure nothing unwarranted ensued in the confrontation. Further more, the naval personnel on SLN vessels had been alerted to rescue anyone jumping over board to surrender. Disregarding the warning signals of the Navy, LTTE cadres on board the ships had fired at SLN vessels compelling them to retaliate, which resulted in the complete destruction and sinking of the three LTTE ships. No SLN vessels or personnel received damages or casualties in the destruction operation which lasted around 24 hours in the high seas.
LTTE Ship, 'Manyoshi' destroyed on 10th September at 7.00 a.m.

SLNS vessels had initially detected two ships on the 10th. The LTTE ship, “Manyoshi” was the first ship to be destroyed. It was sunk on the 10th around 7.00 a.m. The second LTTE ship to be destroyed was “Seishin”. It was sunk on the same day around 5.00 p.m. Seventy-two explosions had been observed on board “Seishin” alone, before it finally went down. The last LTTE ship, “Koshia”, was destroyed after a hot pursuit, which lasted well over four hours, on the 11th around 3.30 a.m.

LTTE Ship, 'Seishin' destroyed on 10th September at 5.00 p.m.

The destroyed LTTE ships were sailing towards the seas south-west of Sri Lanka with the intention of making a mid sea trans-shipments of their priced cargo in to smaller vessels that were awaiting their arrival. ‘Sri Krishna’, one such small vessel, hijacked by the LTTE from Indian fishermen, was used in carrying out similar transactions in mid-sea, when it was tracked down and destroyed last May at the same location by the Maldivian defense forces. The ill-fated LTTE ships were “floating arms warehouses” that were loaded with approximately 4000 tonnes of military cargo. They consisted of three light aircraft in knock-down condition, speed boats, a bullet proof vehicle for the LTTE tiger supremo, Vellupillai Prabakaran and a large quantity of 152 mm,130 mm and 122 mm artillery shells and 120 mm mortar rounds in addition to other arms and ammunitions on board.

LTTE Ship, 'Koshia' destroyed on 11th September at 3.30 a.m.

LTTE had ten rogue merchant vessels in their possession which were between 45 to 75 meters in length and had the capability of carrying 1000 to 1500 tons of cargo on board. The vessels were deployed on clandestine arms smuggling missions across international waters. Sri Lanka Navy has been able to destroy nine such vessels so far, thus down sizing the LTTE’s arms smuggling capabilities by 90%. Two such vessels were destroyed in 2003 off Mullaitivu. One was sunk in the seas off Kalmunai in September 2006. LTTE lost another off Dondra in February 2007. Two vessels met with the same fate in the seas off Arugambay in March 2007.

The destruction of the three LTTE ships is a one of the biggest achievements in the Sri Lanka Navy’s history. The loss is regarded by defense analysts as a major blow to the LTTE which is facing a severe shortage of arms and ammunitions at present as a result of their international arms procurement and smuggling activities are being systematically destroyed by the Sri Lanka Navy in their successful naval operations against the terror outfit.
Destroying of Three LTTE Ships