Parents of a Sri Lankan youth, who had gone missing while working aboard a Taiwanese ship, have sought the assistance of the CID, the Foreign Employment Bureau and the Ministry of External Affairs, to locate their son.
Harshaka Srimal, a CINEC Maritime Campus graduate, went missing on August 14 while working on the Taiwanese fishing vessel ‘Sinaw 8’ as a welder and fitter. He and his friends Asanka Indunil, Lakmal Madusanka and Pradeep Indika had been recruited to work on the fishing vessel on a two-year contract through Proso Manpower Tours and Travel (Pvt) Ltd., a recruiting agency in Pettah.
Asanka Indunil’s sister when contacted said they have not been working since the August 14 the day that Harshaka went missing. According to a fax she had received, Harshaka had reported to work late that day and as a result had got into an argument with an Indonesian official. The argument had turned violent and the Indonesian official is alleged to have pushed him and he was not to be seen when his friends went looking for him. Another fax message from the captain, states that he fell into the sea but there are no eye witness to prove it.
Lakmal Madusanka’s mothers said Lakmal had contacted her July 2 and had mentioned that they had been molten ice water to drink and eat only once a day. He said they had to work for 18 hours a day and the people were unfriendly.
Proso Manpower Tours and Travels (Pvt) Ltd. representative W. A. Sunil Nandasena claimed he was not aware of what happened to Harshaka Srimal. He said the recruits were briefed about having to work in a fishing vessel and not as welder fitters.
However, a request asking that the remaining three youngsters be sent back to Sri Lanka would be sent through the Taipei Economic and Cultural Affairs Center based in New Delhi, since there is no Taiwanese Embassy in Sri Lanka. (Kamanthi Wickramasinghe)