May 05, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is trying to position itself to attract the growing ship lay-up business triggered by the global economic slump and has earmarked safe anchorages for vessels, a senior Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) official said. “We have got clearance from the security authorities now to lay up vessels in safe anchorages outside Colombo harbour,” said SLPA managing director Nihal Keppetipola.
“We have been having several requests from shipping lines on the possibility of laying up their ships in our anchorages.”
The SLPA is also holding talks with the defence authorities on using the eastern port of Trincomalee for laying up ships.
Trincomalee, one of Asia’s biggest natural harbours, was used for ship lay-up during down turns in the shipping market before the outbreak of the ethnic war in the early 1980s.
Shipping industry officials said the country can earn fees for laying up vessels and also providing services to maintain the ships until they are recalled for service when the market recovers.
The demand for ship lay-up arose with the collapse in the shipping market caused partly by the global economic crisis which has reduced trade and partly by a huge over-supply of vessels.