After recovering 14 bodies, SL Navy ended the rescue of the capsized Chinese vessel
The ship, which capsized on May 16 in the middle of the Indian Ocean, had 39 people missing on board – 17 Chinese, 17 Indonesian and five Filipino sailors.
Navy spokesman Capt. Gyan Wickramasuriya told IANS that after a crucial mission, divers have recovered 14 bodies trapped inside the ship, which capsized more than 700 nautical miles from Sri Lanka.
Navy divers found 12 more bodies of crew members inside the ship and the operation was handed over to the Chinese rescue team that arrived at MV Shandong De Long.
“Because of decomposition and the potential health risks posed by working in contaminated waters with limited protective equipment, it was decided that recovering those bodies would be too risky. The decision was then taken to locate the bodies, with the safety of the Sri Lankan Navy divers as a priority.
He said a thorough briefing was given on the designated body locations, safe passages for divers to enter and exit the capsized ship, as well as the subsequent actions of the Chinese rescue team.
The navy launched the operation after the Chinese government requested assistance from five countries in the region including India, Australia and Sri Lanka.
In response to Beijing’s request for support, the Indian Navy has deployed its “MR air assets” to the southern Indian Ocean region.
The ship capsized in Australia’s vast search and rescue area and the site was 5,000 kilometers west of Perth.
Australia has also sent three planes and four ships to assist in the international search and rescue effort.