Sandasen Marasinghe in the Daily News, 4 April 2014
The Australian Government according to their pledge, granted the first fully furbished Bay Class Patrol Vessel to Sri Lanka. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott pledged to provide vessels valued at US$ 2 million to the Sri Lankan Navy as the Australian government was confident of the Sri Lankan government’s effort to prevent illegal migration to Australia.
The Australian Prime Minister while in Sri Lanka to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, pledged the gift of two patrol vessels to the Sri Lankan Navy as a capacity enhancement measure. He commended the Sri Lankan Navy’s efforts in preventing people smuggling during a high-level meeting which was held on board the Sri Lanka Navy’s Flag Ship ‘Sayura’ at the Port of Colombo on November 17, 2013.
The fully furbished Australian Bay-Class patrol vessel would substantially augment the Sri Lankan Navy’s capacity as it was able to cover a large area of the Indian Ocean and serve Sri Lanka’s ‘Search and Rescue Area’ more effectively. The event symbolized the commitment of the key partners in enhancing maritime security in the region and the bilateral cooperation that existed between the two governments on combating people smuggling.
At a ceremony attended by Navy Commander Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage, Sri Lanka Navy took delivery of the first Australian Bay Class patrol vessel at Cairns in Australia on March 29, 2014. The flag transferring ceremony, which marked the passing of responsibility, authority and accountability of command of the vessel from one Flag State to another, took place in the presence of the officials representing the Australian Customs and Border Protection.
Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Australia, Admiral (retd) Thisara Samarasinghe, Commander of the Navy and the SLN crew, who would be manning the vessel’s 4,800 nautical-mile voyage home. The highly agile and responsive vessel, formerly known as Australian Customs and Border Protection Vessel (ACV) Corio Bay, will complement the SLN’s existing fleet.