At a ceremony attended by Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage, Sri Lanka Navy took delivery of the first Australian Bay Class patrol vessel in Cairns Australia on 29 March.
The flag transfer ceremony, which marked the passing of responsibility, authority and accountability of command of the vessel from one Flag state to another, took place in the presence of the officials representing the Australian Customs and Border Protection, Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to Australia, Admiral (retd) Thisara Samarasinghe, Commander of the Navy and the SLN crew, who will be manning the vessel's 4800 nautical-mile voyage home.
The highly agile and responsive vessel, formerly known as Australian Customs and Border Protection Vessel (ACV) Corio Bay, will complement the SLN's existing fleet.
Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, while in Sri Lanka to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting pledged the gift of two patrol vessels to SLN as a capacity enhancement measure. He commended the Sri Lanka Navy's efforts in preventing people smuggling at a high-level meeting held onboard Sri Lanka Navy's Flag Ship Sayura at the Port of Colombo on 17th November 2013.
The fully furbished Australian Bay-class patrol vessel will substantially augment the SLN's capacity as it is able to cover a large area of the Indian Ocean and serve Sri Lanka's Search and Rescue Area more effectively. The event symbolizes the commitment of the key partners in enhancing maritime security in the region and the bilateral cooperation that exists between the two governments on combating people smuggling, stated the Ministry of Defence.