Ship carrying Sri Lankan refugees arrives in British Columbia

MV Sun Sea cargo ship, carrying 490 migrants, was escorted by the Canadian navy that intercepted it last night and landed in a Vancouver Island harbour today, amid fears that some of them could be members of the proscribed LTTE.

Navy personnel, working alongside Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and members of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) took the ship to CFB Esquimalt, near Victoria.
The cargo ship has been at sea for three months after leaving Thailand in May, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported on Friday.

Humanitarian facilities including tents and portable toilets have been set up at CFB Esquimalt.The migrants will be interviewed by police and boarder security personnel before giving them refugee status in Canada.The condition of the people on board the ship is unknown. Authorities are yet to screen them.

There are unconfirmed reports that many are suffering from tuberculosis.The MV Sun Sea is the second ship to make its way to Canada following the end of a lengthy civil war in Sri Lanka.

The first ship was the Ocean Lady, which brought 76 Tamil migrants to Canada last October.
The Sri Lankan military crushed the LTTE in a campaign last year, ending a 37-year-long bloody civil strife that aroused allegations of human rights abuses and war crimes.
Canada is considered as one of the world's most liberal asylum policies.

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