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Yacht operator says Merchant Shipping blocks business


Sept 21, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lankan Aggressor, a yacht named after the island, has been blocked by the Secretariat of Merchant Shipping from registering pending IACS classification. Releasing a statement, Yacht operator TVB Group said they delayed the launch of their new ‘Aggressor’ branded Super Luxury Liveaboard Yacht in Sri Lanka due to this IACS issue. TVB said the yacht operations were scheduled to commence on 3rd September 2016 with the launch of its first weekly liveaboard charter. “At least 7 weeks of charters have now been cancelled and the whole development is now in jeopardy as the yacht lays idle in the Colombo harbor,” the statement said. “Charters and safari lodge trips which have now been cancelled costing Aggressor Fleet, local Helitour airlines, local 5 Star hotels and Sri Lanka an estimated $700,000 foreign currency.” Merchant Shipping which falls under the Ports Ministry however says no vessel shall be registered unless at the time of registration, such vessel is classed by one of the 12 IACS Member classification societies. The International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) is a technically based organization consisting of twelve marine classification societies headquartered in London. This classification verifies the compliance of technical and engineering standards for the design of ships. TVB however charged that the Merchant Shipping wants all commercial yachts that want to operate in Sri Lanka to hold a IACS classification. “The problem is none of the 1000 yachts operating in the Red Sea in Egypt or the 430 yachts operating in the Maldives or the 500+ yachts in Thailand are ever built to IACS classification,” TVB said. “Merchant Shipping is asking for something that no other commercial yachting tourism national asks for and dooming any new fleet development before one yacht can start to operate.” TVB Group further said they are continuing to work with their local representatives, lawyers and the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority to find a solution. The group also hopes that more weeks will not have to be cancelled, disappointing 1000’s more international tourists over the next 3 years and costing Sri Lanka valuable tourism revenue and the launch of new Super Yacht Tourism business sector for the island.
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