Colombo, November 9, 2007: U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert O. Blake, Jr. formally handed over a radar-based maritime surveillance system and several Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) to the Sri Lanka Navy on November 8 at the Naval Dockyard in Trincomalee. Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda, Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, received the equipment on behalf of the Sri Lanka Government.

The equipment was provided under Section 1206 of the U.S. National Defense Authorization Act, which provides authority for the U.S. Department of Defense to assist in equipping and training partner nations to deter global terrorist activity.
Both the surveillance system and the inflatable boats are designed to enhance maritime security by increasing the Sri Lanka Navy’s ability to detect off-shore smuggling activity.

In his remarks at the handover ceremony, Ambassador Blake expressed the U.S. Government’s hope that the radar system and the inflatable boats would help the Sri Lanka Navy to interdict arms shipment to the LTTE.

The Ambassador also urged the Government of Sri Lanka to pursue a negotiation settlement to Sri Lanka’s conflict and stressed the important of respecting fully human rights.