Tamil Tigers sink Sri Lankan naval ship in Trincomalee(Lead)

May 10th, 2008 - 8:11 am ICT by admin  

By P. Karunakharan
Colombo, May 10 (IANS) A Sri Lankan naval logistic supply vessel was sunk in a powerful pre-dawn underwater explosion by suspected Tamil Tiger rebels in the heavily-guarded Eastern Trincomalee harbour Saturday, hours before a crucial provincial poll, naval sources said. “One of our logistic supply ships - A520 - birthed at the Ashraff harbour in Trincomalee was blasted and sunk in an underwater sea explosion around 2.15 a.m. There was no damage to the crew members,” Navy spokesman Commander D.K.P. Dassanayake told IANS over phone early Saturday.

He said that the navy was now engaged in extensive search operation in and around the area.

The Defence ministry said that the A-520 was a merchant vessel built in 1970s and was handed over to the Sri Lankan Navy, following a court order after it was apprehended while transporting illegal migrants off Tangalle in 2003.

The Tamil Tiger rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack.

“A troop carrier and supply ship of the Sri Lanka Navy, named A-520, was sunk by the Sea Tigers Black Tiger underwater naval commandos in the Trincomalee Harbour at 2.23 a.m.,” the pro-LTTE Tamilnet website reported quoting rebel sources.

“Commandos from Kangkai Amaran unit of the Sea Tigers took part in the Sea Tiger mission,” the LTTE claimed, adding that this ship was engaged in naval attacks against the LTTE ships in high seas in 2007.

The attack came a few hours before the Eastern province goes to polls to elect a maiden provincial council.

On Friday, at least 11 civilians were killed and 29 wounded in a bomb blast - blamed by the military on Tamil rebels - in the Eastern Amaparai district.

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