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Intl support including from India in action: SL Navy recovers 14 bodies from capsized Chinese vessel

The Sri Lankan Navy has officially called off its search and rescue operation for a capsized Chinese deep-sea fishing vessel after successfully recovering 14 bodies.


The vessel, which met with the accident on May 16 in the central Indian Ocean, had 39 individuals on board who were reported missing. This included 17 Chinese mariners, 17 Indonesian mariners, and five Philippine mariners.


Captain Gayan Wickramasuriya, spokesperson for the Sri Lankan Navy, confirmed to IANS that the recovery mission resulted in the discovery of 14 bodies trapped inside the sunken vessel, which was located over 700 nautical miles off the coast of Sri Lanka.


Capsized-Chinese-vesselHowever, due to decomposition and the potential health risks associated with operating in contaminated waters without adequate protective gear, the decision was made not to retrieve the remaining bodies.


Instead, the focus shifted towards mapping their locations within the vessel to ensure the safety of the Sri Lankan Navy divers.


Captain Wickramasuriya explained that the Chinese salvage team, who arrived aboard the MV Shandong De Long, took over the operation after being briefed on the locations of the bodies and provided with information on safe passages for divers to enter and exit the overturned vessel.


This handover was carried out to prioritize the safety of all involved and avoid any unnecessary risks.


The Sri Lankan Navy's involvement in the operation was a response to a request for assistance from the Chinese government, who sought support from several countries in the region, including India, Australia, and Sri Lanka.


In response, the Indian Navy deployed its "Air MR assets" in the southern Indian Ocean region, while Australia dispatched three aircraft and four ships to aid in the international search-and-rescue efforts.


The capsized vessel found itself within Australia's extensive search-and-rescue jurisdiction, approximately 5,000 kilometers west of Perth.


The collaborative efforts of multiple nations underscored the importance of international cooperation in such challenging maritime incidents.

While the search and rescue operation has now come to a close, the focus will shift towards investigating the cause of the accident and implementing measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.


The recovery of the bodies will also provide some solace to the families of the deceased, who can now find closure and begin the process of mourning their loved ones.


The efforts of the Sri Lankan Navy, along with the support from neighboring countries, have demonstrated the commitment and solidarity within the international maritime community in times of crisis. (Edited)

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