The Galle harbour is in a unique position to tackle the issue of sea piracy, particularly for ships affected by Somalia pirates as it is only six nautical miles away from the international maritime shipping route.
This transpired during the launch of the ‘Sri Lanka International Air Freight, Shipping and Logistics Expo 2012(SLIAFSLE) organized by CEMS Lanka (Pvt) Ltd in Colombo this week.
SLIAFSLE 2012 will be held at the BMICH from March 8 – 10 at the BMICH.
Preethilal Fernando, Director/CEO, GAC Shipping Ltd, an international shipping company operates in Sri Lanka as a joint venture with McLarens Shipping Ltd, said that they service around 350 vessels per month at Galle Port and provides all the facilities for these vessels such as bunkering, crew changes etc. They also operate six of their own vessels.
He said the Galle Port is one of the best locations to handle the Somalia pirate menace as Somali pirates operate in the Indian Ocean and all vessels that are to pass Suez Canal could be armed and provided with other equipment at Galle Port to meet any eventuality confronted by the Somali pirates.
He said that the strategic location of the ancient port of Galle offers an excellent base for their offshore ship supply service. He said that their principals simply engage their services en-route, avoiding any deviation from their vessels’ original routes. He said that vessels en route between the Far East and Suez as well as Read Sea, Middle East or Indian Subcontinent ports, all pass within a few miles of the Southern tip of Sri Lanka (Galle Port).
Mr Fernando told the Business Times (BT) on the sidelines of the press briefing that Somali pirates hijack vessels sailing in the Indian Ocean. He said “What happens is, all the vessels which are going through the Suez Canal have to be prepared for any pirate attacks. We, together with the Sri Lankan Navy, provide ‘Sea Marshals’ (security providers for ships) and equip them with necessary armoury and deliver these weapons to vessels which we serve.”
Chaminda Hulangamuwa, Executive Director, McLarens Shipping Ltd said that Sri Lanka is emerging as a shipping transit and logistics hub with a number of internationally acclaimed ports in the country.
Manish Patel, Country Manager, DHL Keells (Pvt) Ltd said that logistics is important for the country and there is growth in this respect. He said that what is needed is to market it properly and the SLIAFSLE 2012 event is to market the country’s logistic potential and industries which needs growth and logistics.