Ipswich aid held up off Sri Lanka

A SHIPLOAD of aid that set sail from Ipswich has been stopped before reaching its destination in Sri Lanka.

A SHIPLOAD of aid that set sail from Ipswich has been stopped before reaching its destination in Sri Lanka.

Hundreds of tonnes of food, and medical supplies, which had been donated by British Tamils for the country's refugees, left the Port of Ipswich on the ship Sea Ruby at the end of last month before halting in France.

As the ship was too small to cope with all the donations from European Tamils a larger ship, Captain Ali, was then used to transport the aid from France to Sri Lanka.

However the ship was detained off the coast of Sri Lanka as the authorities believed it was carrying military equipment to support the defeated Tamil Tiger rebels.

After a thorough check, they found the vessel just had aid on board but as the government claimed the correct paper work was not in place, the ship was turned away.

The ship is currently looking for somewhere to dock and unload its cargo to containers to be brought into the country.

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Arjunan Ethirveerasingam, a spokesman for Mercy Mission, the charity that organised the aid relief, said: “All of it was aid and it has been turned away on a technicality. We are still negotiating with other countries to receive the cargo.

“The longer the aid is delayed, the more people are suffering in the camps.”

The aid was designed to be given to the 300,000 people who have been forced to live in the camps in the north of the country.

The cargo was the single biggest one destined for the country.

Do you have a story for the newsdesk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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