Sri Lanka’s Mattala airport offers aircraft parking services to Covid-hit airlines-Why, not parking ships?
Posted on April 25th, 2020

Dr Sarath Obeysekera

EDB of Sri Lanka should offer Trinco Harbour facility to park oil rigs and oil tankers to generate foreign income 

A request to investigate thas been  sent to SLPA and to the Task Force 


Due to the adverse effect of Covid 19 virus to the economy of the countries in Asia. Africa and the Middle East, there will be an enforced lull period in Oil Exploration leading to vessel /drillships being laid up for longer periods until

the global economy recovers. Sri Lanka, having established effective control of Corona spread 


The location of where to lay a vessel/ rig is essential to ensure its safety and protection with the following conditions considered. The location of where to lay up a vessel/rig is essential to ensure its safety and protection with the following conditions considered. 

1.​The lay-up site should be well sheltered from heavy wind, strong current and swell.

2.​The seabed characteristics should be such as to provide adequate anchor holding power.

3.​The sea bed should be free from obstructions, wreckage or other projecting objects.

4.​The depth at the site should give sufficient clearance

5.​Mooring  bollards of sufficient strength should be placed such to ensure proper lead

Trincomalee, is a natural deep-water harbour, is ranked as the 2nd best natural harbour in the world and is the only one of its kind in the Indian Ocean that is accessible to all types of crafts in various weather conditions.  


Few companies are already involved in providing such facilities in Sri Lanka, in harbours such as Hambantota and Trincomalee. There are numerous inquiries from various operators worldwide requesting the lay-up facilities in Sri Lanka,

Health authorities can also impose a premium charge for treating and patients among the crew. Hotel Industry in the vicinity can also benefit by providing isolated facilities for Quarantine of the crew for a minimum period of 14/21 days. Insurance companies too can sell their products to the operators to cover such expenses.

Several oil exploration and drilling contracts have been suspended and in some cases vessels have not been able to find berthing facilities due to some ports having been placed under quarantine. 


Sri Lanka possesses the following key criteria to win the lay-up business opportunities from international vessel owners for short, mid and long-term lay-ups;

– Sheltered from open seas (e.g. Trincomalee Port/Inner Anchorage,

– Minimal tidal currents.

– Good holding grounds for anchors

– Free and open outside of a typhoon/cyclone belt.

– Sri Lankan lay-up locations (Trincomalee, Hambantota, etc) are located closer to major shipping routes – enables quick reactivation when business commences

– Sri Lankan service providers are equipped with all critical engineering, vessel husbandry, crew management, bunkering, repairs, servicing, inspection and certification, etc to cater to all kinds of lay-ups.

– Sri Lanka ability to give any vessel the best Security and Safety coverage

– Sri Lanka already has 100% Sri Lankan own companies able to provide all the lay-up services to international marine assets with experience and good track record.

Dr Sarath Obeysekera
CEO Walkers Colombo Shipyard
Sri Lanka

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