H’tota Harbour unsafe
Minister of Ports and Shipping Arjuna Ranatunga claimed that several foreign shipping lines have declared the Magampura Harbour in Hambantota as a risk zone for shipping activities.
Minister Ranatunga speaking to media yesterday (14) claimed that following last Saturday’s incident, several insurance companies of the foreign shipping lines, that frequently visit the Hambantota Harbour, had declared, last Tuesday (13), that the Hambantota Harbour was unsafe for ships.
The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has commenced discussions with the shipping lines in order to secure their trust with in the Hambantota port.
“The SLPA is currently discussing the matter with the shipping lines and trying to explain that this was not any sort of piracy act but rather an act organized by unions. Hopefully, they will be successful and by next week, we might be able to tell you which companies are leaving and which ones will be staying.”
When inquired about the controversial Public-Private Partnership with the Chinese company, to hand over 80 per cent of the port, while retaining 20 per cent, Minister Ranatunga claimed that no final agreement has been signed on the matter.
According to the Minister, only the framework agreement has been signed as of yet and the final paperwork will be concluded before 08 January.
“The discussions with the Chinese company are ongoing. One of the first clauses we discussed at those meetings was to secure the jobs for those Port employees; to which they agreed. We, the ministry and myself, are trying our best to retain the best deal we can garner out of these discussions so that it will benefit the country,” Ranatunga said.
– Ceyon Today