The Ports, Shipping and Aviation Ministry has decided to maximize revenue generation from sunken and derelict vessels.
While holding a special discussion at the ministry, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said 47 such vessels have sunk or capsized in Sri Lanka's territorial waters.
Therefore, the minister issued instructions to take maximum benefit from these vessels for the local economy and to preserve them in view of their archaeological importance if necessary.
“A large number of tourists are interested in exploring the sites of sunken vessels in local waters, which is also facilitated by a number of international ocean exploration and divining teams for the photography of the sites,” he said.
During the discussions, it was decided to salvage any vessels with no archaeological value at these sites and sell them for scrap and credit revenue to the government account.
“According to maritime law, if rights over a sunken ship were not presented within a period of one year, ownership of the ship would fall on the government that owned the oceanic territory,” he pointed out.
The Minister ordered relevant officials to look into six such vessels anchored at Colombo, Galle, and Trincomalee ports for more than six years and consider expediting the legal process to obtain the maximum revenue for Sri Lanka Ports Authority out of these abandoned vessels.
The Director General of the Marine Environment Protection Authority emphasized the importance of avoiding pollution to the marine environment during this process. (Chaturanga Pradeep Samarawickrama)
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