SL’s foray into the maritime security industry Floating armoury controversy – Part I

Though much has been said and written in the past two years about the opaque operations of Avant Garde Maritime Services, most people know little or nothing of what it was all about – a classic case of a controversy creating more confusion than enlightenment. In this article, The Island staffer C. A. Chandraprema traces how Sri Lanka got drawn into the murky world of maritime security and the roles the Rajapaksa government and the private sector played in the operation.
In 2006 as the war intensified, the Defence Ministry set up Rakna Lanka Ltd, a fully government owned limited liability company to provide security services to important government installations and institutions such as the Mahaweli dams and the Petroleum Corporation etc. Made up entirely of ex-armed forces personnel this special security service was meant to eliminate the need to deploy army and police personnel to guard infrastructure and to release them for duties in the war zone. Rakna Lanka provided security services to 49 government institutions during and after the war. While Sri Lanka remained preoccupied with the war, a new development that took place in the Indian Ocean region was the rise of piracy off the coast of Somalia.
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