Monday, March 19, 2007

LTTE loses 2 vessels in 6 hours

Two suspected Tamil tiger arms transport vessels were intercepted by the Sri Lankan navy (SLN) today at around 9.30AM and at 12.30PM. The suspected ships were detected 400Km off Pothuvil coast.

First suspicious ship was detected by SLN's offshore patrol boats patrolling the eastern seas. The ship was not able to correctly identify itself upon request of identification data. Naval vessels which tried to close in and surround the suspicious ship were hit by rounds of medium caliber armament fire. Navy returned fire and the retaliatory fire caused several explosions in the suspected ship. By 9AM the suspicious ship was completely destroyed and was submerged in the sea. Later, another ship was detected in the same area. This ship, which was traveling without a flag, fired at the SLN gunboats when ordered to identify itself. This ship too was sunk due to retaliation fire from SLN gunboats.

Judging by the explosions which occurred after the ships were hit, it can be concluded that they had a significant amount of explosives on board. Exact type of weapons which were on board is not yet determined. The first ship was 70-75m long and could carry around 1500-2000 tonnes of cargo. Second ship was smaller than the first but it had the capability to around 750-1000 tonnes of cargo.

This is the second major tiger arms transport intercepted by the Navy during the month of March. Tigers lost a $35 million (LKR 3.5 Billion) worth of arms and a $70 million (LKR 7 Billion) worth large ship in the previous incident.

11 comments:

  1. Almost all the SL news reports state that these suspected arms carrying ships fired back at SLN vessels. From a Tiger perspective what is the rationale in firing at SLN with small calibre weapons? Its a given that the SLN will retaliate with all they got and sink them. It brings us down to two questions. 1) The Tiger vessels don't fire at the SLN at all, the SLN uses it as a standard excuse to justify their actions. 2) The LTTE actually fires at the SLN craft provoking them for a gun battle in which they know that they will all die but its better than being captured and the cargo identified with the source.

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  2. I think the 2nd part is correct as they have no option but to attack with small calibre weapons since cargo vessels do not have heavy fire power.

    That's why i beleive that they seek assistance from sea tigers when they come closer to the shore. This is where they attach Navy with suiside boats while unloading the stuff.

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  3. Doubt that they're firing on the Navy in order too trigger an attack. In the past, most Tiger arms ships were rigged for self destruction in the event of boarding or capture. Sounds more like option 1.

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  4. Doubt that they're firing on the Navy in order to trigger an attack. In the past, most Tiger arms ships were rigged for self destruction in the event of boarding or capture. This is fairly easy to do if you're transporting explosives! Why risk having just the personnel killed aand the ship captured? Sounds more like option 1.

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  5. Tiger vessels did fire on SLN patrol boats first. This is confirmed and is not a lie.

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  6. we should get more surveillence assets like the beech aircraft to watch over the whole of sri lanka on a round the clock basis. even if naval units can't intercept enemy ships in time, with all weather night and day surveillence we can direct air or ground forces to knock out the cargo as it's being unloaded, or just watch where it's being taken. at a more convenient time we hit the booty load! nothing escapes the beech.

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  7. Defencenet, I didn't say it was a lie. I just chose option 1 over 2. It's not unlikely that the ships fired on the Navy, just that the reason being suicide is unlikely.

    Jiffy, let's just be happy we're nailing these ships.

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  8. If you have seens the video of previous ship which was sank you could see/hear fire coming from the ship it self.

    Its hard to imagine that a ship carrying Wepons and ammunition dont have singnificant fire power.

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  9. As far as i know 2 Beech HISARs were Grounded for maintenance..

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  10. Dhinushka: that's what i heard too. im no military expert, but it makes sense to invest in surveilence (even if the indians are now on 'our side'). btw do you follow MiG29C's thread on lankanewspapers.com?

    David: oh! im pleased as punch! i just feel, given our past record, we shouldnt let opportunity slip. these gun runners have to be cut. i assume (how accurately or not i cant tell), cutting supplies is a key, if not the most important way to debillitate the enemy's resolve. now that we've got em by the proverbial 'ball sack', lets not let it slide. oh! but if were only so simple! a puff of smoke and viola! 15 new FACS , 20 OPVS,...

    that's how my prayers go these days: "Dear God"...please give the SLN , SLAF a lot of rupees to buy a lot of planes and ships to F&$# the tamils..ooops i meant the tigers. oh! and look after Jiffy's ammi and thathi. Amen!"

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  11. The fact that the sinking of these two ships has cause a shortage of ammunition and arms to the Tigers, emphasizes the need to strengthen the navy more.

    We need to have a separate Naval Air Wing, equipped with good long range ocean reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft like the P-3C or TU-95. We need faster and more heavily armed FACs and OPVs.

    If we can cut off the flow of arms and ammunition to the LTTE, then it would make it harder for them to launch large scale Operations against our FDLs.

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