News Line

    Go to Home Back
Email this to a friend
Printable version
Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 06.01 GMT

Ocean Lady

Human smuggler wanted by Interpol

 

Interpol has issued an arrest warrant for a British man accused of running the human smuggling network that sent 76 Sri Lankans to Canada aboard a cargo ship in 2009.

Shanmugasundaram Kanthaskaran, 40, is wanted by Sri Lankan authorities for "people smuggling, trafficking and illegal immigration" as well as "terrorism," according to the Interpol website.

Classified details of the allegations obtained by the National Post show he is also known as "Peg Leg Shankar," wanted in connection with the human smuggling vessel Ocean Lady.

According to available reports he organized the Ocean Lady smuggling run with a Canadian named Ravi Shanker. According to the report, Mr. Kanthaskaran was a member of the Sea Tigers, the naval wing of the LTTE.

After his leg was amputated following a clash with government forces, he moved to London, where he was allegedly involved in procurement. Using a ship called the Princess Easwary, he smuggled weapons to Sri Lanka from North Korea, the report says.

The ship was transporting military hardware to the island in May 2009 when the civil war ended, it says. After hearing that Tamil rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was dead, the ship's crew dumped their cargo into the waters off Indonesia. Kanthasakaran then began organizing a human smuggling voyage to Canada, it says.

The ship, which was registered in Cambodia, changed its name to Ocean Lady and sailed from India with a stop in Malaysia, arriving off the British Columbia coast in October 2009 carrying 76 Sri Lankans. All have claimed refugee status.

Ten months later, a larger ship, the MV Sun Sea, reached Canada from Thailand carrying 492 Sri Lankans. Mr. Kanthaskaran's alleged involvement in human smuggling may explain why Canadian officials such as Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Public Safety Minister Vic Toews have linked the ships to the Tamil Tigers.

The Immigration and Refugee Board has so far ordered the deportation of two of those on board the Sun Sea on the grounds they had been Sea Tigers. But the RCMP remains uncertain whether the smuggling ships were a rebel operation (perhaps to raise money for the cause, or to relocate members and their families to Canada) or whether remnants of the rebel group were simply fleeing the region following their defeat.







 
                   

 
   
   
     
   
   

top

   

Contact Information:: Send mail to priu@presidentsoffice.lk with questions or comments about this web site.
Last modified: March 31, 2011.

Copyright 2008 Policy Research & Information Unit of the Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved.