Maritime Law Enforcement

Law enforcement is one of the primary duties entrusted to Sri Lanka Coast Guard by the Coast Guard Act No. 41 of 2009 and has empowered SLCG for the Law enforcement in the territorial waters, the maritime zones of Sri Lanka and the high seas. Concurrently, Coast Guard officers deemed to be ‘peace officers’ within the meaning and for the purposes, of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act No. 15 of 1979.

SLCG law enforcement functions include assist in preventing, the entry and exit of illegal immigrants and emigrants, the trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, the detection and seizure of contraband and weapons, cooperate with domestic and foreign organisations for the purpose of protecting national interests in all such areas and ensuring national security, protecting the national economy and the national integrity of Sri Lanka.

In order to achieve this, SLCG has deployed its fleet units and established shore bases, CG Stations, CG Substations covering whole coastal belt, the territorial waters and maritime Zones of Sri Lanka. Further, SLCG personnel are deployed and committed to following major maritime law enforcement activities.

Prevention of Illegal, Unregulated, Unreported (IUU) Fishing

There are around forty thousand fishing vessels including around 1500 Multiday fishing vessels operate in Sri Lankan waters and adjacent high seas. These fishing vessels operate from major fishery harbours and coastal launching pads of Sri Lanka. SLCG has established 24 Fishery Monitoring Points (FMP) at all major fishery harbors around Sri Lanka to deter fishery related crimes.CG personnel attached to Fishing monitoring Points monitor all inbound and outgoing fishing vessels throughout to ensure compliance of laws and regulations. In addition, SLCG fleet units deployed at sea, patrol EEZ, contiguous Zone, territorial seas of sri Lanka to prevent IUU fishing by both local and foreign fishing vessels and to impose fishery laws of Sri Lanka. In year 2019 alone, SLCG arrested 51 Sri Lankan and 10 foreign fishing vessels with illegal fishing gears, fish catch and apprehended 225 Sri Lankans and 39 foreign personnel for fishery related offences.

Combating Trafficking of Contrabands, Narcotics and Human Smuggling

SLCG is committed to deter trans boundary movement of contrabands, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances through sea. SLCG deploy sea units throughout the year to prevent Kerala Cannabis and other contrabands smuggled from southern states of India through Palk strait and Gulf of Mannar to Sri Lanka. Moreover, Offshore and coastal patrols are deployed focusing inbound heroin and other narcotics transferred using Multiday fishing vessels and FGDs to Sri Lankan shores. In year 2019 alone, SLCG apprehended 47 personnel with 4513.53 kg of illegal goods and 205.2kg of low-end narcotics with 07 vessels arrested during anti-smuggling operations.

Furthermore, Sri Lanka had been identified as one of the source countries for human smuggling which are bound for Australia, New Zealand and French territories in Indian Ocean. Constant coastal and maritime surveillance resulted in drastic reduction of human smuggling from Sri Lanka in recent years. SLCG continue to monitor suspected smuggling vessels by deploying is fleet units covering launching pads and possible smuggling routes to deter human smuggling in Sri Lanka.

Deter Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea

Deterring Piracy and armed robbery in its maritime zones and adjacent high seas of Sri Lanka is one of the key functions entrusted to SLCG. SLCG in collaborations with other maritime forces ensure, is committed to ensure Sri Lanka waters and adjacent high seas free from piracy and armed robbery by continuous surveillance and sea patrols ensuring secure sea line of communications for smooth flow maritime trade in Sri Lanka. It is noteworthy to mention that there is no attempted or actual incidents of Piracy and armed robbery in Sri Lankan maritime zones and adjacent high seas for last 10 years since the end of LTTE terrorism due to continues and effective maritime governance with immense contribution of SLCG. Further, SLCG collaborate with neighboring and regional maritime forces by joint exercises and information sharing to deter Piracy.

Assisting other Government Agencies by Enforcing Laws of at Sea

SLCG assist other government agencies enforcement of laws related to immigration and emigration, customs, Marine Environment protection and wildlife conservation. Whale watching industry has been flourishing in recent past in areas such as Mirissa, Kalpitiya and Trincomalee. In 2019, more than 125,000 foreign tourists visited Mirissa seas for whale watching. SLCG personnel and inshore craft have been deployed throughout to monitor whale watching in Mirissa and Kalpitiya sea areas to assist Department of Wildlife implementing laws and regulations on observation of sea mammals.