COLOMBO (News 1st); The Sri Lankan Cabinet has granted approval for Rakna Arakshaka Lanka to re-commence its Maritime Security operations with Avant-Garde Maritime Services as a joint venture, subject to conditions.
Cabinet Spokesperson (Minister) Keheliya Rambukwella said the cabinet decided to grant permission for the Joint Venture based on the recommendation from the Attorney General.
On the 08th of July 2021, a cabinet memorandum was tabled with regard to handing over the Maritime Security service operations to Avant-Garde and Rakna Arakshaka Lanka, in order to revive the project as a joint venture.
The cabinet memorandum was thereafter directed to the Attorney General for recommendations.
The Attorney General had informed the cabinet that he observed that it was not illegal for the said two companies to work in agreement to jointly operate a floating armoury to provide Maritime Security services for commercial vessels.
The Attorney General had noted that on the 13th of November 2015 the operations of maintaining a floating armoury as per the joint agreement were forcibly taken over and the commercial project was vested with the Sri Lanka Navy.
The Attorney General had pointed out that as per the Navy Act No. 34 of 1950, the Sri Lanka Navy is not authorized to engage in any commercial activity and had added that the Sri Lanka Navy had agreed to hand over the operation to a suitable party.
According to the Attorney General’s observations, Sri Lanka Navy is a body within the Sri Lankan Government and therefore the government must be held responsible for forcibly taking over the floating armoury and the project, and it is not in accordance with any law and that it cannot be justified by any law as well.
The Attorney General believes that Rakna Arakshaka Lanka will have to face legal action for breaching the agreement.
The Attorney General had further pointed out that Rakna Arakshaka Lanka will have to pay compensation to the tune of USD 20 Million to Avant-Garde for the breach of the agreement following the take over of the operation.
He had further noted that Avant-Garde had suffered a loss of Rs. 21 Billion as per the letter of demand sent to the Defence Secretary and necessary measures need to be taken to prevent legal action over the claim.
Accordingly, the Cabinet of Minister granted permission to re-commence the operation subject to conditions.
Thereby, all overseas weapons must be stored, protected, issued, transferred to sea and land, and the regulation must take place under the direct supervision of the Sri Lanka Navy and if required, Sri Lanka Police protection can also be obtained.
It must be noted that Sri Lanka Navy is completely responsible for National Security when it comes to the matter of Maritime Security.