The Sri Lankan Navy has successfully stopped a people smuggling boat attempting to come to Australia illegally this week.
Eighteen people who had boarded a fishing vessel in Valaichchenai on the country's east coast were detained off the Sri Lankan coast before they were able to commence their voyage.
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said this is another example of the strong work our regional partners are doing to disrupt people smuggling ventures.
"The Australian Government thanks the Sri Lankan Government for its continued commitment to stamping out the criminal act of people smuggling," Mr Dutton said.
"I look forward to travelling to Sri Lanka again in the near future to reinforce our strong relationship and be able to personally thank the Government of Sri Lanka for its partnership in this important issue.
"I believe there may be a link between the individuals on this venture to the individuals we intercepted and returned to Sri Lanka earlier in the week.
"Whether in waters off Sri Lanka or en route to Australia, the message to people smugglers is clear; you will not succeed. Since Operation Sovereign Borders began in 2013 every Sri Lankan boat that has attempted to come to Australia illegally, has failed."
Mr Dutton said it is a timely reminder of the need to remain resolute as people smugglers continue to try to exploit vulnerable people.
"To families here in Australia who have loved ones overseas that may be considering such a venture, tell them not to risk their lives or waste their money by attempting to come illegally by boat to Australia," Mr Dutton said.