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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2956

Sri Lanka Navy place underwater defence system in the North

By Ravin Edirisinghe

Colombo, 23 January, ( a message sent by the Sri Lanka Navy few days ago informed the Indian Navy, that they have placed "an underwater defence system" between Kachchathivu and Delft Island in order to curb sea tiger movements.LTTE Sea Mine recovered from Nayaru on 14 April 2007LTTE Sea Mine recovered from Nayaru on 14 April 2007

Commodore P.Van Haltren, the naval officer-in-charge, Tamil Nadu, talking to media stated that he had received the communication from the Sri Lanka Navy on the installation of the system. The same message has been then passed to the Chief Secretary L.K Tripathy.

Even though we in Sri Lanka have not heard of a recent underwater attack targeting the Sri Lanka Navy, by implementing these types of defence systems in strategically important places the Navy has sent a clear message to the sea tigers. Sea tigers in a failed mission tried to send underwater suicide divers to Colombo harbour in 17 June, 2006.

The naval surveillance patrol craft operating in the eastern seas detected some 24 sea mines placed by the tigers in April last year. Naval divers were called in for action and they removed all of these sea mines making the sea area safe not only for the Navy but also for the fishing community in Nayaru area.

Looking back at the past couple of years one would see that tigers have not utilized their underwater element against the Navy for two reasons. One due to the advanced underwater detection systems the Navy has placed especially in the harbors and its approaches and the second is due to the successful attacks that the Navy launched destroying LTTE arms warehouses which the LTTE carried a sizeable amount of underwater diver delivery vehicles, torpedoes, Closed Circuit Breathing Apparatus (CCBA) etc.

If we look back at the sea confrontations during the latter part of year 2007, one can clearly see that sea tigers have been trying hard to establish their only available sea route to Vedithalathivu by engaging the naval patrol units operating in this area. When their supply requirements cannot be done by using sea tiger boats, they have used the Indian fishing trawlers. In most of the occasions those innocent fishermen have been either killed or injured.

This strategic deployment of underwater detection system at this stage of the conflict can be termed as an important move carried out by the Navy in order to stop their remaining supply route across the Palk Strait.

As the destruction of seven floating tiger warehouses in the last year contributed immensely to the present ongoing ground operations in the North, this move and the future operational tactics will undoubtedly have an impact on the end result of the conflict.

- Asian Tribune -

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