Sri Lanka Navy declares readiness for Red Sea deployment

Although a specific date is yet to be determined, Navy spokesperson Capt. Gayan Wickramasinghe assured that discussions at higher levels are ongoing and that the Navy is prepared to embark on this maritime mission once the green light is given.

The Sri Lanka Navy has announced its readiness for a possible deployment to the Red Sea, pending government approval to assist in defending critical shipping lanes from Houthi activities. Although a specific date is yet to be determined, Navy spokesperson Capt. Gayan Wickramasinghe assured that discussions at higher levels are ongoing and that the Navy is prepared to embark on this maritime mission once the green light is given.

At an event on January 3, President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized the government’s commitment to deploying a Navy vessel to the Red Sea to protect vital shipping lanes. Disrupting these critical lanes could result in higher freight charges and cargo costs, affecting the country’s import prices. Recognizing the financial implications, President Wickremesinghe stated that deploying a vessel would cost the government Rs. 250 million per fortnight.

Following the President’s announcement, the Sri Lanka Navy performed a feasibility study on the deployment. Before beginning the mission, Capt. Gayan Wickramasinghe emphasized the importance of logistical supplies and a strong weapon outfit. He said: “We are now on standby to send our deployment to the Red Sea at any time.”

Capt. Wickramasinghe added, “We will send a vessel once the discussions and a date are finalized.” The date is expected to be finalized after discussions with top government officials, the Commander of the Navy, and consultation with other navies deployed in the Red Sea.”

The United States and Britain have launched airstrikes in Yemen against the Iranian-aligned Houthi group, which has been targeting civilian ships in the Red Sea in protest of Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip.

New Zealand joined the international coalition by announcing deploying a six-person defence team to the Middle East to maintain maritime security in the Red Sea. This collaborative effort highlights the importance of maintaining safe and secure shipping lanes in this strategically important region.

As Sri Lanka prepares to contribute to regional stability with this Red Sea deployment, the government’s commitment to strengthening maritime security reflects a broader international consensus. The Sri Lanka Navy’s readiness and ongoing preparations represent a proactive approach, demonstrating the country’s commitment to playing an important role in maintaining stability and protecting vital global trade routes.