SRI LANKAN NAVY SHIP P 621 REACHES COLOMBO
AFTER A HISTORIC VOYAGE
First ever Trans-Atlantic Crossing and
mid-sea refueling by a Sri Lankan Navy Ship
Sri Lankan Navy ship P-621 which set sail from Norfolk, Virginia
in the United States on February 19th, reached the Port of Colombo
around 9.00 AM local time on Wednesday, March 29th. This 39 day
voyage was the longest ever undertaken by a Sri Lankan Navy vessel
and was the first ever Trans-Atlantic crossing. The ship was received
by Foreign Secretary Mr. H.M.G.S. Palihakkara, Chief of Defence
Staff and Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri, US
Ambassador HE Jeffrey Lunstead, US Defence Attaché Lt Col
Richard Girven, Officers from the Sri Lanka Navy and families
of the crew. The Sri Lanka Navy band was in attendance.
Acquired from the US Coast Guard on the Excess Defence Articles
(EDA) scheme, the ship underwent extensive refurbishment and reactivation
in Norfolk. The crew numbering 83 personnel also underwent extensive
training with the US Coast Guard on similar vessels both in the
east and the west coasts of the US.
The ship called on Puerto Rico, Canary Island, and Port Said
in Egypt and Salalah in Oman before reaching Colombo. P 621 carried
out a co-operative sail with USS Mount Baker, (from the US Fleet
Forces Command) from Puerto Rico to the Straits of Gibraltar,
which was a significant event that portrayed the support and the
comradeship of the US Armed Forces. Again, for the first time
in the history of the Sri Lanka Navy the ship carried out two
mid-sea re-fuelling operations with USS Mount Baker.
The ship is due to be commissioned soon in Colombo where it will
be renamed according to the traditions of the Sri Lanka Navy.
It will be deployed along with a sister vessel for deep-sea interdiction
Embassy of Sri Lanka
28 March 2005