Cargo ship passenger wanted in Sri Lanka for terrorism

76 illegals detained
76 illegals detained

National Post… One of the 76 migrants who arrived off the British Columbia coast in a cargo ship last weekend is wanted in Sri Lanka for terrorism, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.

The sources said the man was Kartheepan Manickavasagar, a 26-year-old who is the subject of an Interpol notice issued by Sri Lankan authorities. He is wanted for an unspecified terrorism offence.

Meanwhile, the mysterious migrant ship that arrived in Canadian waters early on Saturday under the name Ocean Lady has been identified as the Cambodian-flagged Princess Easwary, a government official said.

The ship is owned by Ray Ocean Transport Corp., a company registered in the Seychelles, although its mailing address is in the Philippines, according to shipping records kept by Lloyd’s Register.

The vessel’s operator is listed as Sunship Maritime Services, which uses the same mailing address in Cebu, Philippines. Sunship’s phone appeared to be out of service yesterday and an email to the company was returned as undeliverable.

The arrival of the ship in B.C. waters has sparked an intensive investigation into the origins of the vessel and the identities of the passengers, who arrived with either fraudulent documentation or none at all.

The screening has so far detected one match with the Interpol database of fugitives. The man is suspected of involvement with the Tamil Tigers, separatist guerrillas outlawed by Canada for terrorism and notorious for their suicide bombings. Continue Reading →

Ship seized trying to smuggle migrants into Canada

CTV NEWS…Seventy-six would-be migrants have been taken into custody in Victoria after the RCMP commandeered the ship that had been carrying them off the coast of British Columbia.

The RCMP vessels Higgitt and Lindsay, and the Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Regina, escorted the ship to port after it was intercepted.

The vessel was sailing under the name of “Ocean Lady.” Its crew is reportedly Canadian, and its passengers are believed to be from Sri Lanka.

Both passengers and crew were in good health, considering they had been at sea for some time, the Canada Border Services Agency’s Rob Johnston said at a news conference.

“Even though we’re satisfied, we are making arrangements for medical examinations as we process them through,” Johnston said.

Crowds of people gathered along the water where the ship docked. However, officials put up tarps to keep the vessel and its cargo out of sight.

“Each passenger came off one by one, rather than all coming down at once,” said CTV’s Jim Beattie. “They have all been interviewed, processed, checked for health concerns.”

The passengers areĀ of varying ages, he said, but officials were not saying whether there were children on board.

Ottawa has indicated it was tipped off about the approaching ship by its “security partners.”

“We believe this has been an operation for a week at least as they’ve watched this vessel head towards North America,” Beattie said.

Pictures of the “Ocean Lady” released by the RCMP show people wearing civilian clothes, waving to a helicopter overhead.

“The RCMP took steps to intervene with close support of the Canadian Forces and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA),” Minister of Public Safety Peter Van Loan said in a statement. “An RCMP Emergency Response Team trained in maritime intervention boarded and took control of the vessel.”

There were preliminary indications that the ship originated in Sri Lanka, Van Loan added.

Officials in Ottawa said the passengers will be detained for the time being. They will be moved from Victoria to Vancouver in the coming days, where authorities will determine what to do with the group.