LTTE rescues crew of Jordanian vessel

The militant group says the vessel had entered "Tamil Eelam's territorial waters", reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Dec 23, 2006 22:08 IST

The LTTE on Saturday rescued the crew of an ill-fated Jordanian vessel off the Mullaitivu coast in North-Eastern Sri Lanka.

The militant group's Military Spokesman Rasaiah Ilanthirayan told Hindustan Times that the Sea Tigers (the naval arm of the LTTE) had boarded the vessel since it had entered"Tamil Eelam's territorial waters" and also because there was some "suspicious movement" of the Sri Lankan Navy in the vicinity.

But on boarding the vessel, theSea Tigers found that it was an innocent merchant vessel which had drifted because of mechanical failure.

Sea Tiger engineers had tried to repair the ship but could not. It was then decided to rescue the crew, Ilanthirayan said.

"We later heard that the ship had run aground," he said.

The LTTE's UN liaison officer Poovarasan then informed the International Maritime Organisation and the International Committee of the RedCross about the fate of the ship and the fact that the ship's crew were safe.

The Jordanian ship Farha-3 with a 25-member crew of Jordanians and Egyptians was carrying 14,000 tonnes of rice from a South Indian port to Durban in South Africa.

First Published: Dec 23, 2006 22:07 IST