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Sri Lanka losing US$ 200 million a year and pay higher insurance tariffs due to non availability of Electronic Navigation Charts – State Minister of Defence

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State Minister for Defence, Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon, addressing a Press Briefing held under the theme ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country,’ at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC) today (24) said that Sri Lanka was losing around US$200 million annually as only 116 of the 122 Electronic Navigation Charts (ENC) which  map out Sri Lanka waters were not available. He added that providing ENC’s was a global responsibility of a coastal nation.

The state minister said that as Sri Lanka was located  strategically in the Indian Ocean and between 35,000 to 45,000 container vessels, passenger vessels and tankers traversed through its waters annually.  He pointed out that it was mandatory for each vessel to purchase at least two ENC’s at a cost of US$ 25 each when traversing through Sri Lanka waters. In as much we lose US$ 50 per vessel we have to pay more for the goods we import as well as for exports because the insurance premiums were higher when vessels navigated through uncharted waters.

The law maker said that the firm which undertook to chart Sri Lankan waters decades ago had failed to complete the task and hence the government has taken a policy decision to entrust the charting to the Sri Lanka Navy.

He said to perform the charting it was required to acquire a deep water multi beam echo sounder and a shallow water multi beam echo sounder as well a replacement for the vessel. ‘Sagarika’.  He added that it would take two years to complete the work once the acquisitions were made.

As it was envisaged to establish Sri Lanka as a yacht hub in the future,  priority would be given to mapping out the commercially important waters and added that until such time the operation of the proposed yacht hub at the Colombo Port City will be stalled.

He also said that the National Hydrology Act has been presented to parliament.


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