My roller coaster ride in Sri Lanka trying to develop ship building industry
Posted on July 30th, 2019

Dr Sarath Obeysekera 

After a six-year struggle with unionised dockworkers and corrupt politicians, I somehow managed one and only shipyard in the nineties. After a stint in the oil and gas-related marine industry in Europe I returned to the motherland with grandiose plans to develop the blue economy

The long struggle started with a plan to establish Yacht Repair and boatbuilding yard in Galle harbour. After a marathon run with the Sri Lankan bureaucracy, it took two years to sign the agreement with ports authority. Though the investor was very much frustrated, commenced building the yard. After few months investor bolted away due to the fiasco in Aluthgama.

A few years went and man new investor could not be he mustered.

SLPA canceled the agreement in 2014.Five years since the cancellation of the agreement SLPA has not yet attracted an investor.

Moved to Beruwala fishery harbour and hauled few ships to repair. Fishermen blocked the activities and  we retreated.

Moved to Mutwal in Colombo and managed to lease out the inactive fishery harbour and completed the development of a shipyard with local investment.

Local banks supported by providing loans. Since the beginning of this year ships were not arriving for repair and bank loan could not be serviced.

Last week bank advertised to auction all the assets of the shipyard. Sri LANKA customs were also gunning after the directors of the shipyard for a shortfall of duty payment due to a genuine error.

Customs  sent a letter giving 10 days to pay or directors will be arrested

Such a national industry, much needed for the island will see a natural death.

Before I land in jail after such a struggle to develop the Marine industry, I would like to tell the politicians in Sri Lanka that the whole country is on the wrong track.

Dr. Sarath Obeysekera

One Response to “My roller coaster ride in Sri Lanka trying to develop ship building industry”

  1. aloy Says:

    Dr. Sarath, Sorry to hear about your plight. I do not know much about you except that once you headed the Dockyard (plc ?) that built the state of the art cable laying ship with the help of Japanese.

    Couple of weeks ago I came to know that it is recorded somewhere that Sinhale made the finest and the largest ships to China during our ancient kings’ time. Mahawansa itself records that once the whole of east coast was one ship building yard in preparation of an attack on a country in the South East Asia that did not show respect to a entourage from Sinhale. Perhaps what they did not have was astronavigation techniques. That also showed that the religion was only a tool to keep the nation united and they they did not show metta and karuna to those who do not deserve it.

    I do not know whether you too were with wahabi connections. But looking at what is happening in the country today you will realize that if you have enough money the right connections the most ferocious AG also will dance to you tune.

    You should learn about the legal jargon such as anticipatory etc. for your safety.

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