Ukrainian Captain of MV Avant Garde remains in prison
Galle Chief Magistrate Nilupuli Lankapura on July 5 re-remanded the Ukrainian Captain of the ship MV Avant Garde until July 18. He was arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) on June 23. The Sri Lanka Navy had subjected the vessel 'Avant Garde' docked at the Galle Port to inspection on October 6, 2015 to find five hundred and forty nine (549) T-56 weapons, two hundred and sixty four 84-S weapons and 204,674 bullets. The Ukrainian Captain of the ship was arrested on charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives and of illegally importing firearms to Sri Lanka.
The Avant Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Ltd slammed as outrages allegations against its ship which docked at the Galle harbor on Oct 8, 2015. The company said that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) had given the approval for the ship to dock in Galle but the Sri Lanka Navy boarded the ship and assumed command. Avant Garde said that the actions of the Navy was shocking and that the company kept the relevant officials fully informed before the ship reached Galle stating that Avant Garde has always conformed to national and international laws from the inception and, as mentioned earlier, has been receiving accolades and admirations from players of the industry as well as independent international experts in maritime affairs. It also said that there is no discrepancy whatsoever in the consignment of weapons, ammunition and associated equipment maintained by Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Ltd (RALL) representatives on board.
The ship obviously was deployed as a floating arsenal and private guards base, obviously in accordance with Sri Lankan laws, but as obviously, not in accordance with Sri Lankan Navy, which seems to have laws of its’ own.