Suspicious Sri Lanka turns down aid from British Tamil ship

June 9th, 2009 - 2:58 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 9 (ANI): A ship carrying aid from British Tamils has been rejected by the Sri Lankan authorities, who suspected it to contain logistical equipment for the Tamil Tigers.

Sri Lankan military has ordered Syrian-registered ship, The Captain Ali, to leave the island without distributing its cargo.

“The ship had tried to enter Sri Lankan waters without following the proper procedure,” The Telegraph quoted a military official, as saying in Colombo.The spokesman said that the ship neither had permission to land in Sri Lanka, nor did the crew possess visas for the country, and so it has been escorted out of Sri Lankan waters.

As the Captain Ali ship entered Sri Lankan waters on June 4, country’s navy seized it, detaining its 13-crew members and 2 passengers - including one Briton - for questioning.

The ship set sail from Ipswich on April 20.

The organizers of the ship, Mercy Mission to Vanni, said it was carrying nearly 900 tons of food, medicine and other aid donated by British Tamils.

The campaign was supported by British pop star M.I.A., who is of Sri Lankan Tamil origin.

“We are extremely disappointed that the Sri Lankan government has turned away this mercy mission that was only carrying aid,” said Arjunan Ethirveerasingam a spokesperson for Mercey Mission.

“There are 300,000 people in internment camps in the north of the island who desperately need this aid,” he added.

The ship is currently headed westerly away from Colombo. When it reaches international waters, the mission will decide how they can get the food and aid into Sri Lanka.

“Whether we take it to another country and ship it in containers or work with a partner organisation, we will have to decide, but we will find a way of getting the food to the people who need it,” Ethirveerasingam said. (ANI)

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