S Lanka to acquire two ships for ferry service with India
Sri Lankan government plans to acquire two passenger ships to be deployed for the ferry services to and from India after a gap of more than 25 years.
Colombo: Sri Lankan government plans to
acquire two passenger ships to be deployed for the ferry
services to and from India after a gap of more than 25 years.
"We hope to obtain the two vessels on a long-term wet
lease," Deputy Minister of Port and Highways Rohitha
Abeygunawardene was quoted as saying by the Sunday Observer.
The government is negotiating with two European
operators on the issue, he said.
"We are looking at providing something different to
the passenger and are hoping to acquire vessels that would
have a sleeping facility during the eight-hour journey," he
Sri Lanka and India signed an agreement to start the
ferry service between Colombo and Tuticorin and Thalaimannar
and Rameshwaram early this month. Initially, the Colombo-
Tuticorin service will commence.
The resumption of the ferry services between Colombo
and Tuticorin, and between Talaimannar and Rameshwaram would
be in place for the first time since 1982.
India is likely to provide three ships for the service
which would operate four times a week, while Sri Lanka would
operate thrice per week.
Passenger transportation by sea is being established
in view of the large number of businessmen, holiday makers,
pilgrims and students who travel regularly to and from India.
Special shuttle services would be introduced at the
Colombo harbour to take passengers and cargo to terminals
where modern security arrangements, similar to the one at the
island`s international airport, would be placed.
"We are currently in the process of refurbishing the
passenger terminal which is in bad shape. This would be
modernised to meet the demands and needs of around 800
passengers per day," a Sri Lankan official said.
Figures of the Tourism Development Authority show that
the largest number of visitors to Sri Lanka are from India and
the number is growing after the restoration of peace here.
According to the figures, 111,129 Indians visited Sri
Lanka in 2010 till November.