If the world of maritime security was murky, the murkiest part of it was the floating armouries. In this article The Island staffer C. A. Chandraprema examines the controversy surrounding the Galle floating armoury of Avant Garde Maritime Services.
By 2012, the number of firearms of foreign maritime security companies coming into the Galle naval armoury for storage had increased exponentially. What started with just 12 firearms as a temporary measure to help in the fight against piracy soon became a flood with well over one thousand foreign owned weapons lying in the Galle naval armoury at any given time. The navy was at one point making around Rs. 80 million a month from storage fees. In October 2012, a report by the UK based Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI) observed that the SL government has for some time been concerned about the increased movement of large quantities of foreign owned arms and ammunition through Galle.
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