A man accused of trying to smuggle Tamil migrants into Canada aboard the MV Sun Sea two years ago has been arrested in France.

Thayakaran Markandu, who is accused of masterminding the trip that originated in Thailand, faces human smuggling charges, following the ship's landing in B.C. in August 2010. 

The 492 Tamil migrants found on board have all made refugee claims.  

The federal government has accused some of the passengers of having ties to a banned terrorist organization, the Tamil Tigers, and several Sun Sea passengers were ordered deported.

Markandu is the first person charged in connection with the MV Sun Sea. An international search was launched after the charges were laid last month in B.C. provincial court.

The federal Conservatives pointed to the Tamil arrivals to argue for tougher sentences for human smugglers, proposing legislation that would target operations that bring large numbers to Canada at once.

The proposed legislation, which was reintroduced in February, would make it easier to detain migrants who arrive en masse and speed up hearings for people from counties considered "safe," including those in the European Union.

With files from The Canadian Press