Navy gets the situation under control at the Port of Hambantota
The Sri Lanka Navy took swift measures to disperse the port employees who staged a protest campaign at the Hambantota Port premises today (10). These employees were disrupting the routine work of the harbour and creating much loss of revenue to the government and incurring heavy demurrage to shipping lines.
The protesting Port employees were obstructing the operations of the Merchant Ships berthed alongside the jetty and was causing much damage to the ships and adjacent facility by putting up obstacles of heavy machinery, equipment and usage of Gantry cranes blocking the movement of ships.
The Sri Lanka Navy who is the competent authority to carry out the ISPS (International Ship and Port Facility Security) Code had to intervene today to disperse the protesters from the two ships and the adjacent facility to make way for normal port operations. The protesters were holding the ship by force and had seized its operation which is a grave violation of International laws and norms which could be treated as an act of piracy, whereas the punishments are very severe in nature.
The Naval personnel entered the Hambantota harbour premises by naval craft by the sea passage and boarded the two ships and its berthed pier, and brought the situation under the Navy’s control having laid a cordon around the jetty area. Moreover, the Navy paved the way to sail the forcefully held car carrier ‘Hyperion Highway’ back to its next port of call in Oman this evening, and also the naval personnel managed to clear all obstacles laid around jetty and adjacent premises, restored power supply, operated tug boats and fleet units and provided seaborne security in a well-coordinated and executed operation. As a result of above sabotage carried out by port employees the Shipping agent of ‘Hyperion Highway’ had to incur a total demurrage of USD 400,000 for the last 4 days of non-operation.
The other merchant ship named ‘MV Hoyanger’ which is still berthed at the pier is yet to unload the cargo and cannot proceed to the next port of call unless unloading the cargo onboard, which may have to stay a few days until the port operations are normalized.