(April 30, Sri Lanka Coast Guard Department has decided to set up coast guard units in each fisheries harbor of the island, said the Director of Department Rear Admiral Daya Dharmapriya.
Sri Lanka is an island that has a large sea area in its control. The country's sea is now seven times bigger than the land area and after 2027 Sri Lanka will own a sea area of 25 times of the landmass. The island has made requests to the UN authorities to claim for the sea above the continental shelf of the island and the request will be considered after 2027.
The island communities were seafarers since ancient times. However, the sea around the island was a dangerous place in past three decades since the activities of the Sea Tigers of Tamil rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam and the counter-terrorism measures of Sri Lanka Navy. Fishing was also thoroughly restricted for many years before the end of war.
But, in the post-war era Sri Lanka government seems understood the potentials of the island nation to fish prosperity from the sea around the island.
Therefore, the decision to set up a 'Sea Police' can be considered a far-sighted initiative.
The Coast Guard Department will establish main coordinating centers in Colombo, Mirissa in South, Oluwil in Ampara district, Kalpitiya and Mannar in northwestern coast, Trincomalee in the Eastern Province, Point Pedro and Punarin in Jaffna peninsula.
The Coast Guard Department is now equipped with 250 personnel and four crafts. The Director of the Department said that the proposals have been mooted to recruit 2000 more personnel to the coast guard and fast moving crafts also will be acquired.
Recently established Sri Lanka Coast Guard is not an armed force. It is considered as a ‘Sea Police’ that is empowered in prevention of smuggling, piracy, sea pollution and it is also expected to act in lifesaving, protection of property and sea species conservation in the 485000 square kilometer sea area belonged to Sri Lanka.