Lower piracy risk reduces Sri Lanka sea marshall business

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s southern port of Galle has seen a fall in the business of providing transit services for sea marshalls employed to defend merchant ships from pirate attacks following a sharp reduction in attacks and risk, an official said.

Navin Perera, Chairman of Young Shipping Professionals-Sri Lanka said the business boomed from 2012  to 2014 when demand for sea marshalls grew rapidly because of increasing attacks by Somali pirates.

The boom led to companies deploying more boats in Galle, but with the decline in pirate attacks, business has fallen, he told the Colombo International Maritime Conference.

“With the increased capacity in Galle and a fewer number of calls, we see an impact on pricing,” Perera said.

Galle became a hub for sea marshall operations with growth of Somali piracy, with Avant Garde Maritime Services emerging as a top operator with a virtual monopoly after it struck a deal with the former government to operate floating armouries.

The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) recently filed action against Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, former secretary to the defence ministry, and seven others, including three ex-navy commanders, for illegally allowing a private floating armoury. (COLOMBO, Sept 23, 2016)

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