The Chinese Embassy in Colombo on Tuesday organised a special ceremony in Colombo to felicitate the diving team of the Sri Lanka Navy, which engaged in a heroic diving operation to recover the capsized Chinese fishing vessel ‘LU PENG YUAN YU 028’.
The Chinese vessel capsized in the Australian Search and Rescue Region, south of Sri Lanka on May 16.
The event was presided over by the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Qi Zhenhong and the Chief of Presidential Staff and Senior Adviser on National Security to the President, Sagala Ratnayaka.
As per Sri Lanka’s commitment to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC) Colombo established at the naval headquarters is responsible for coordinating and facilitating maritime search and rescue operations in its designated region as well as neighbouring regions.
At the directives of Navy Commander, Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera, a diving team onboard SLNS Vijayabahu was dispatched to the SAR Region to engage in a challenging diving operation at the overturned Chinese fishing vessel.
Having reached the location, the Sri Lanka Navy divers meticulously searched for air pockets within the upturned vessel, hoping to find any survivors. After strenuous diving in challenging conditions for three days, they retrieved 02 bodies from the accommodation area and located 12 more decomposed bodies of the crew from other compartments.
In less than 24 hours after the challenging diving operation, the distressed Chinese vessel sank into the deep depths of the ocean. The Sri Lanka Navy said its exceptional diving operation, carried out under such hazardous circumstances, thus received international acclaim.
Upon completion of its intended task, SLNS Vijayabahu then commenced the return journey. On its way home, the ship retrieved an ill fisherman from a local multi day fishing trawler at sea about 460 nautical miles (851km) off Galle and brought him ashore for medical attention on May 26.
Speaking at the felicitation ceremony, the Chinese Ambassador said the special diving operation carried out by the Navy was a testament to the friendly and strong relationship between the two countries.