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Bad weather strands 150 Sri Lankans in Myanmar sea

October 7, 2014

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — About 150 Sri Lankan fishermen are stranded in the Myanmar sea after drifting there during bad weather, an official said Tuesday.

Fisheries Ministry spokesman Narendra Rajapaksa said the ministry has received reports that three boats and 15 fishermen are already in the custody of the Myanmar coast guard. About 30 boats with more than 150 fishermen are drifting in the same sea area, he said.

He said the fishermen have informed the Sri Lankan authorities that they have been unable to go home because of a developing cyclonic system.

“Therefore, we have now requested the Myanmar authorities to provide protection for these fishermen who are drifting near their maritime boarders and help them out if the weather turns more rough, ” Rajapaksa  said.

Last year, 53 Sri Lankan fishermen died when their boats got caught in a heavy storm. The country’s meteorology department was criticized for failing to warn the fishermen of the severity of the storm.