The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it is continuously monitoring the progress of passengers of Sri Lankan origin who were rescued and brought to the Port of Vung Tau in Vietnam yesterday (8).
The Ministry issuing a statement said, the Sri Lanka Navy had received information of a vessel carrying 303 Sri Lankans, which was in distress in waters between the Philippines and Vietnam on Monday (7).
The Sri Lanka Navy having contacted the vessel, informed that the crew had abandoned the vessel with the passengers onboard.
On the initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in coordination with the Sri Lanka Navy and the Sri Lanka Missions in the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam together with the regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCC) based in Singapore, the rescue efforts were coordinated.
Subsequently, the Japanese-flagged vessel “Helios Leader”, having been contacted by the Singapore MRCC, rescued the passengers from the distressed vessel.
The passengers were handed over to Vietnam authorities at Vung Tau Port in South Vietnam.
The screening of the passengers will be done by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in coordination with the Viet Nam authorities and the Sri Lanka Embassy in Viet Nam.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs continues to work closely with the Sri Lanka Missions in the Philippines, Singapore, Viet Nam and IOM for early repatriation, once the screening process to ascertain their nationality and other formalities are completed.