One Ultra Fast Attack Craft (UFAC) of the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) was destroyed today dawn in an explosion that occurred near the seas off Nayaru coastline. 10 sailors on board have gone missing after the incident. 6 more who were on board have been rescued by another FAC deployed in the area. The rescued personnel which included the officer in charge of the craft had managed to get into a life boat before it submerged.
The source of the explosion is not 100% confirmed as of yet. According to the rescued sailors, the craft was rocked by a blast that severely damaged its hull. However pro LTTE media reported that the UFAC was destroyed in a suicide attack and admitted the loss of 3 suicide cadres.
Military intelligence had previously uncovered that Norwegian ex special forces members provided underwater demolitions training to LTTE cadres in Thailand. In addition to this information it is suspected that LTTE smuggled in a few underwater scooters during the ceasefire period. Additionally, LTTE are known to use several different types of sea mines including floating mines.
Image: SLN UFAC - III
The craft destroyed is an UFAC- III type vessel which is commonly known as Colombo Class Series III. It can achieve speeds up to 53 knots and can carry a crew of 16. Typhoon 25-30mm cannons, Oerlikon 20mm cannons, 12.7mm machine guns and 7.62mm machine guns can be mounted on a UFAC-III. However not all SLN FACs are fitted to their full potential.
Meanwhile Sri Lanka Air Force hit a sea tiger base north of Nayaru lagoon today morning. No reports of damages caused by the air raid are available as of now.
In the Mannar front, troops have gained control of a 1 square kilometer area between Parayakulam and Illanthevan amidst bad weather conditions. Continuous rains have slowed down military operations in the area, a situation which was expected.