Sea Guard

July 24, 2007 (LBO) – Tough security measures at Colombo harbour are causing delays both on the sea side as well as the land side, prompting port customers to take up the matter with the authorities. Shipping line executives and shippers say they do not mind the tough security measures put in place to thwart the possibility of a Tamil Tiger attack but hope adequate arrangements could be in place to ensure smooth flow of commerce.

The continued closure of the northern entrance channel of Colombo harbour because of the threat of Sea Tiger attack is causing delays to shipping lines whose vessels have to spend time idling while entering or leaving the harbour.

Only the single navigation channel at the south-west entrance is now available, causing vessel traffic jams, shipping line executives say.

The northern entrance channel, used by shallow-draft feeder vessels, has remained closed for about a year. It was used by the Tigers to stage an attack on the port using a boat and scuba divers in the mid-1990s that was detected and beaten off by the navy.

The closure means even feeder vessels have to use the main entrance channel, which otherwise would be free for the use of bigger, deep-dr