Two fast attack craft (FAC) of the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) came under small arms fire from a number of smaller Indian fishing boats in Thalaimannar area yesterday at around 6PM.
Two FACs on routine patrol in Mannar region were sent to investigate reports of a large number of vessels docked in Thalaimannar area. When SLN crafts first approached the suspicious boats, the fishermen had requested help from navy citing technical problems. However the fishing boats had opened fire on SLN vessels when the naval personnel tried to investigate the legality of their docking. SLN had not returned fire using the medium caliber cannons on board the FACs, in order to avoid civilian casualties that would have otherwise caused diplomatic issues between India and Sri Lanka.
According to SLN sources there are about 400 such Indian fishing boats that had illegally entered Sri Lankan territorial waters.