Eleven Tigers killed in naval battle

[TamilNet, Monday, 23 February 1998, 23:59 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers gave a detailed account in the Vanni this evening about the sea battle between the Sea Tigers and a large Sri Lankan navy (SLN) convoy, which began last evening and lasted until the early hours of the morning today.

The Liberation Tigers launched their attack on the SLN convoy which was proceeding from the eastern SLN base at Trincomalee towards Kankesanthurai (KKS), around 7.15 pm last evening.

The Liberation Tigers said that the sea battle was fought until 2 am this morning.

One landing craft and one cargo ship in the SLN convoy were destroyed and more than 50 Sri Lankan soldiers and sailers were killed in the attack carried out by the Black Sea Tigers, they said.

According to the Liberation Tigers, 11 Black Sea Tigers died in the 7 hour long engagement.

'Pabbatha', 'Valampuri', two SLN vessels and another identified as 'Sakthi' had started from Trincomalee SLN base toward KKS yesterday morning around 8 a.m, guarded by 2 gunboats and 2 Israeli built Dvora fast attack craft (FACs).

The convoy had sailed north at distance of 25 nautical miles from the shore. 2 more Dvoras had joined the convoy in the seas off the LTTE controlled Mullaithivu coast.

The convoy had got closer to the eastern Vadamaradchi coastline, sailing about 10 nautical miles from it.

Around 7 pm, the Sea Tigers launched their attack on the convoy and fierce fighting erupted. Around 8 pm, a Black Sea Tiger boat carrying explosives rammed into the 'Valampuri', which blew up and sank.

In this attack, Black Sea Tiger Lt. Colonel Karan (Balasundram Gobalakrishnan, Polannaruwa) was killed.

The SLN convoy had then tried to speed towards KKS. According to the Liberation Tigers, the Sea Tigers had pursued the SLN convoy and engaged it again, off the KKS coast.

In the battle that followed, 2 explosive laden Sea Tiger boats rammed into the landing craft 'Pabbatha', at around 9.30 pm and which also blew up and sank.

In this attack, according to the Liberation Tigers, the following Black Sea Tigers died:

1. Maj. Valluvan (Selvarajah Thavarajah, Jaffna)

2. Maj. Kumaresh (Thurairajah Selvakumar, Poonthottam, Vavuniya)

3. Maj. Thamilnangai also known as Nightingale (Thurairajah Sathiyawani, Pooneryn)

4. Maj. Sulojan also known as Maama (Kumaralingam Vijeyenthiran, Thampalakamam, Trincomalee)

5. Maj. Thamiliniyan (Nadarajah Kirubakaran, Kankesanthurai)

6. Cpt. Janarthini (Kailaianathan Sukanthi, Mulliavalai, Mullaithivu)

7. Cpt. Vanitha (Kandiah Pushparani, Neunkerni, Mullaithivu)

8. Cpt. Nangai (Patturasa Kaushala, Kottady, Jaffna)

In the fighting which continued after the sinking the 'Pabbatha', another Sea Tiger boat had attempted to ram a Dvora FAC.

However as the Tiger boat neared the Dvora, one of the Tiger crew, Captain Morris also known as Thamilanpan (Tharmabalasingham Thayaparan, Karainagar, Jaffna) was seriously wounded. He died later in a Sea Tiger base, according to the Liberation Tigers. They said that the other Sea Tiger crewman was rescued.

Later, 4 more Dvora fast attack craft rushed to the area from Trinconmalee and joined the convoy in the early hours of the morning today, by which time the Sea Tigers had returned to to their base.

The Liberation Tigers also said that a SLN ship 'Sakthi', carrying more than 400 SLA troops escaped the battle when it raced towards Pt. Pedro on the Jaffna Peninsula.

 

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