Colombo Dockyard delivers Japanese cable ship, eyes Sri Lanka dredger deal

ECONOMYNEXT – Colombo Dockyard has delivered a submarine cable-laying ship for Japan’s Kokusai Cable Ship Co. Ltd., its biggest and most sophisticated vessel, and says it wants to bid to build a dredger for a Sri Lankan government agency.

The high-technology “KDDI Cable Infinity” is meant for subsea operation and cable installation and repair works of both optical communications and power cables, the yard’s managing director and chief executive D.V. Abeysinghe said.

Having delivered the first vessel of this type after a two-year period, Colombo Dockyard can now bid to build similar vessels in future, under its strategy of building more sophisticated vessels in niche markets, he told reporters.

Colombo Dockyard won the contract from Kokusai Cable Ship Co. against competition from other Asian yards including from Japan, Singapore and Malaysia, he said.

Yukihiro Fujji, who represented Kokusai Cable Ship Co. (KCS), the Japanese owner, at the delivery, said there was plenty of work for cable ships with more undersea cables being laid for both fibre optic communications and power transmission.

About 99 percent of Japan’s internet traffic goes through submarine cables, said Fujji, board member and director of engineering and facility planning department of KCS, part of the big Japanese telecom operator KDDI Corporation.

Build quality, delivery time and price were factors considered in awarding the contract to Colombo Dockyard, he , told economynext.com.

The home port of KDDI Cable Infinity, which can operate globally, will be Kitakyushu, the northernmost city on Japan’s southern Kyushu Island, from where it will do cable installation and repair in the Asia-Pacific region.

Abeysinghe, of Colombo Dockyard, which is majority owned by Japan’s Onomichi Dockyard Company, said the yard also wants to bid for a dredger which Sri Lanka Land and Development Corporation (SLLRDC) is to buy.

SLLRDC, now renamed Sri Lanka Land and Development Corporation, wants the dredger for sea sand mining to meet growing requirements of the construction industry as sand stocks on land get depleted.

But Abeysinghe said a contract condition specifying previous building experience restricted Colombo Dockyard from bidding for the dredger deal.

“We would like this condition removed because if we don’t get the first ship in any type of ship building activity, we will never gain the experience to build them.”

Minister of Ports and Shipping Sagala Ratnayaka said the ministry would lobby for removal of the prior experience condition.

A Dockyard statement said ‘KDDI Cable Infinity’ is diesel electric driven, another first for the yard, with power provided by four generator sets, developing 2,300kW each, and a range of 10,000 nautical miles

The basic design and production drawings for the construction were supplied by VARD Designs, Norway, and the vessel is built to ClassNK classification society standards and meets the regulatory requirements of the Japanese government.
(COLOMBO, 22 June, 2019)