The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that it continues to monitor the progress of the passengers of Sri Lankan origin who were rescued and bought to the Port of Vung Tau in Vietnam on November 08.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had informed the Sri Lanka Navy that they had received information about a vessel carrying approximately 303 persons believed to be Sri Lankans which was in distress in the waters between the Philippines and Vietnam on 07 November 2022. 

The Sri Lanka Navy having contacted the vessel, informed that the crew had abandoned the vessel with the passengers onboard, the ministry said.

On the initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in coordination with the Sri Lanka Navy and the Sri Lanka Missions in the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam together with the regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centers (MRCC) based in Singapore, the rescue efforts were coordinated.

Subsequently, the Japanese-flagged vessel, “Helios Leader”, having been contacted by the Singapore MRCC, rescued the passengers from the distressed vessel. The passengers were handed over to Vietnam authorities at Vung Tau Port in South Vietnam.

The screening of the passengers will be done by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in coordination with the Vietnam authorities and the Sri Lanka Embassy in Vietnam, it said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it continues to work closely with the Sri Lanka Missions in the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and IOM for early repatriation, once the screening process to ascertain their nationality and other formalities are completed.

Rescued Sri Lankans in stable conditions

Meanwhile the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang told a press conference on Wednesday (Nov 9) that more than 300 Sri Lankans who were rescued at sea off Vietnam are now in stable conditions and have been provided with temporary accommodations.

All of the Sri Lankans have been handed over to Ba Ria-Vung Tau competent forces and the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Ho Chi Minh City. They are now staying in Vung Tau city, and Dat Do and Xuyen Moc districts.

According to the spokesperson, after learning of the incident, the Foreign Ministry informed the Sri Lanka Embassy in Hanoi and it is closely coordinating with certain international organisations, relevant agencies and Ba Ria-Vung Tau province to deploy humanitarian aid in line with Vietnamese law and international practice.

The ministry is working with relevant sides in the spirit of humanity, responsibility and international cooperation, she stressed.

Hang noted that over the past time, Vietnamese maritime forces have successfully rescued foreign vessels in distress in the waters belonging to Vietnam’s sovereignty, sovereign right and jurisdiction.

Source –