Sri Lanka takes over the first Australian Custom Vessel 'Corio Bay' gifted by Australia.
Canberra, April 2 -- The Sri Lankan flag replaced the Australian Border Protection Command flag on board the Australian Custom vessel 'Corio Bay' amidst the playing of the two National Anthems to symbolize the handing over of the above vessel to the Sri Lanka Navy on the 30th March 2014 at the Port of Cairns in a simple ceremony.
The flag shifting ceremony was attended by Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Australia, Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage, Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Rear Admiral Michael Noonan, Commander of the Australian Border Protection, Commodore (Rtd) Nigel Perry, National Director of the Border Protection Capabilities, Commodore S. Mohotti, Director Naval Protection and Projects of the Sri Lanka Navy Commander Janaka Samaranayake, Commanding Officer-designate, officials from the Australian High Commission in Sri Lanka, members of the Sri Lanka Navy crew and members of the Australian crew of the Corio Bay.
The gift of the two Australian Coast Guard vessels was announced by Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia to Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary, Ministry of Defence and Urban Development at a ceremony held on board SLNS "Sayura" at the Port of Colombo on 18th November during the CHOGM 2013.
The Australian Border Protection Command facilitated the transfer formalities and also provided a three hour sea excursion on a similar class of vessel to demonstrate her capabilities at sea. The vessel was observed to be a versatile, reliable, well maintained craft and amply capable of performing the Sri Lanka Navy's coastal surveillance duties which would undoubtedly enhance the Sri Lankan Navy's capabilities at sea.
Both High Commissioner Samarasinghe and the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy speaking at the ceremony expressed their appreciation and thanks to the Government of Australia and the Border Protection Command for the friendly gesture of providing the vessels as an outright gift, and committed themselves to working towards further strengthening Australia-Sri Lanka relations.
The first vessel Corio Bay is expected to sail to Sri Lanka shortly under the Sri Lankan Navy flag and the second vessel is also expected to be handed over shortly.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Asian Tribune.
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