Sri Lanka to regularize small commercial vessels

Jan 18, 2017 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s cabinet has decided to regularize small commercial vessels that have been in service as well as new vessels including pleasure vessels used for profit or reward.

Accordingly, commercial vessels, which are cargo and passenger vessels of less than 24 meters, but five meters or more in length, which carry not more than 100 passengers, or provide overnight accommodation for up to 20 passengers, engaged in domestic voyages are covered under this new regulation.

The specific draft regulation on registering new and existing vessels states:

“A vessel of foreign country, who’s government has inspection laws approximating those of the code of safety issued under these regulations, which has on board a current valid certificate of survey or other certificates permitting the carrying of passenger, or cargo in the appropriate sea areas, issued by its government, unless there are clear grounds for believing that the condition of the vessel or of its equipment does not correspond substantially with the particulars of any of the certificates or is such that the vessel is not fit to proceed to sea without presenting and unreasonable threat to the safety of the vessel or its crew and passenger or the environment, is entitled to register under these regulations.”

New regulations will not apply to fishing vessels and vessels holding a valid international passenger ship safety certificate issued under the provisions of the international convention on the safety of life at sea 1974.

Currently in Sri Lanka there is a lot of interest in small commercial vessel activities — with the increase of tourism there is an increase of passenger transportation by ships and tourism activities.

The regulatory function of the shipping industry and enactment and implementation of national laws, rules, and regulations are vested with the Merchant Shipping Secretariat falling under the purview of the Ports Ministry.

Merchant Shipping Secretariat also functions as the focal point of the International Maritime Organization, which is an affiliated institution to the UN.

A yacht operator recently accused the Secretariat of Merchant Shipping of blocking the registration over IACS classification.

The operator said they delayed the launch of their new Super Luxury Liveaboard Yacht in Sri Lanka due to this IACS issue.

The operator said the issue has been resolved by now.

Related: Yacht operator says Merchant Shipping blocks business