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China hosts appreciation reception for SL rescue mission of capsized Chinese vessel (Pics)



The Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka hosted an appreciation reception on Tuesday  (June 06) to appreciate the Sri Lanka Navy divers who participated in the search and rescue operation of the capsized Chinese vessel – Lupeng Yuanyu 028.

Before the reception, a minute of silence for the victims of the tragedy was observed and a special video clip presented by the Sri Lankan Navy to introduce the heroic rescue mission was played.

During the event, 09 divers of the Sri Lanka Navy were felicitated for their bravery. Floral tributes were paid to Lieutenant Commander S.A.I.A Subhasinghe, Petty Officer K.P.A. Arunajith, Petty Officer E.M.D.A. Ekanayaka, Petty Officer D.D.N. Jayathissa, Leading Seaman H.D. Darshana, Leading Seaman N.M.C.L. Narayana, Able Seaman W.W.N.C. Sandaruwan, Able Seaman I.D.L.M. Dissanayaka, and Able Seaman R.S. Kumarage.

The event was attended by a host of distinguished guests including Chinese ambassador in Colombo – Qi Zhenhong, Chief of Staff and National Security Advisor to Sri Lanka’s President – Mr. Sagala Ratnayake, the Indonesian ambassador to Sri Lanka – Madam Dewi Gustina Tobing, the Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka – Mr. Paul Stephens, Minister of Transport and Mass Media – Mr. Bandula Gunawardena, State Minister of Defence – Mr. Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon, State Minister of Foreign Affairs – Mr. Tharaka Balasuriya,  Chief of Defence Staff – Gen. Shavendra Silva, Commander of the Army –  Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage, Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy – Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera, the commanding officer and crew of the SLNS Vijayabahu, diplomats and media.

Speaking, the Chinese ambassador – Mr. Qi Zhenhong praised the SLNS Vijayabahu crew and pointed out that the Sri Lankan divers were the first to dive into the water and enter the hull at the risk of their lives. “The Chinese people and all the families of the crew members of the fishing boat will always remember this special friendship,” he said.

The ambassador also thanked the Sri Lankan President – Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe “for his decisive and timely decision to provide full assistance” and defence officials for their immediate response despite the long distance.

“I would like to thank all the countries and agencies involved in the search and rescue operation for their timely help. This is not only a joint action to fulfill international obligations, but also a glorious mission to demonstrate the spirit of international humanitarianism,” he added.

Addressing the gathering, Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy – Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera said that this was the first ever diving operation by the Navy so far from Sri Lanka and that it was ‘truly an international effort. The incident had taken place in the Australian Search and Rescue region, the vessel involved was Chinese, the SLNS Vjayabahu was granted by the USA and almost 95% of the diving team had trained in India, he pointed out.

Adding a few words, Chief of Staff and National Security Advisor to Sri Lanka’s President – Mr. Sagala Ratnayake also commended the bravery of the SLNS Vijayabahu crew and also thanked the Chinese embassy not only for the felicitation of the divers, but for inviting the entire crew of the SLNS Vjayabahu vessel for the event.

“As far as our relations go with China, I hope this helps us to strengthen it. You have held us through many tough times, especially during the crisis that we’ve had,” he said.


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