Trace amounts of explosives found aboard ship that smuggled 76 Sri Lankans to Canada

Canadian immigration officials have discovered trace levels of explosives on the ship which transported 76 Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers into Canadian waters in mid October 2009.

The National Post reported that the ship named Ocean Lady was actually Princess Easwary. The name 'Easwary' is a common female Tamil name. The ship is thought to be an arms smuggling vessel belonging to the Tamil Tigers.

Lee Rankin, an immigration lawyer representing some of the men, has admitted that the men were detained because the Canadian Border Services Agency detected trace levels of explosives on their clothing and the vessel.

One of the men has already been identified as a Tamil Tiger combatant. Kartheepan Manickavasagar is wanted in Sri Lanka on charges of terrorism. He had an Interpol red notice issued against him.

National Post
In a speech in Ottawa on Friday, RCMP Commissioner William Elliott said while it was too soon to conclude whether any of those who arrived aboard the ship posed a threat to Canada "the fact of their arrival, and the potential for others to follow, does raise security concerns."

He said the defeat of the Tamil Tigers had ended the insurgency but that the rebels remained a terrorist group that "could potentially have a significant impact on Canada."

Canada is "one of the few places in the world where LTTE terrorists and supporters might seek to hide in plain sight, and potentially launch terrorist operations," he said.

Even if the Tigers did not target Canada specifically, "the outcomes could still be devastation," he said, adding the 1985 Air India bombings that killed 329, the majority Canadians, had been committed by Sikh extremists with no apparent grudge against Canada.

The commissioner said violence and intimidation had been used to collect "war taxes" in Canada for the Tamil Tigers.

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