( February 17, 2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Commander of Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne paid a courtesy call on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the Chief of the Army Staff- Pakistan yesterday (Feb 16), at Lahore.
Vice Admiral Wijegunaratne is currently on an official visit to Pakistan as a key invitee to the AMAN -17, multinational maritime exercise that successfully concluded in Karachi, recently.
Matters on transnational security issues with a special focus on the region was discussed between the two dignitaries. Meanwhile, Vice Admiral Wijegunaratne also commended the sacrifices and achievements of the Pakistan Army in its war on terror. He further reiterated that Sri Lanka Navy would continue to extend its fullest support in maintaining and ensuring regional stability and security.
Earlier on Wednesday(15), the Sri Lanka Navy Chief was the honorary Guest at the Pakistan Naval War College in Lahore.
Meanwhile, in a press statement issued by Sri Lanka Navy’s communications division reported that Sri Lanka Navy earned the national coffers over USD 20 million to-date, since taking over the duty of facilitating On-board Security Teams (OBST) 15 months ago. The duty undertaken was an extension of maritime security operations in which the Navy got actively involved in keeping our waters safe and secure for maritime commons and freedom of navigation.
At the existing currency exchange rate, the earnings amount to a staggering Rs. 3 billion, through OBST operations from mid November 2015. The earnings had come across from over 8,200 ship movements predominantly through Galle and Colombo operations centres. Accordingly, the Navy facilitates 550 OBST moves at an average, earning approximately Rs. 200 million per month.
The Sri Lanka Navy took over OBST duties following a special directive by HE the President Maithripala Sirisena. The earnings are directly deposited in the Consolidated Fund of the Government.
Sri Lanka Navy is responsible of receiving, storing and issuing of weapons, ammunition and equipment registered with foreign and local On-board Security Teams (OBST) who operate for merchant shipping companies.