Sri Lanka eyes billion US dollars a year by boosting seafarer employment

SERVICE HUB: Sri Lanka wants to make Galle Port into a global crew change hub.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is planning to boost employment opportunities for seafarers from the island by providing them with more employment opportunities which could lead to boosting earnings to about billion US dollars from the current 300 million dollars.

Though Sri Lanka has about 17,500 sea farers only about 5,000 are employed at a given time.

Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman Daya Ratnayake said a master plan had been developed to boost employment of seamen in Sri Lanka

The 5,000 person earned about 300 million dollars a year.

“We have developed a strategy to increase this number,” Ratnayake told an online forum organized by Sri Lanka’s National Chamber of Commerce.

“Out of this 17,500 people only about 5000 are actively in operations. These 5,000 people bring about 300 million dollars a year.

“We can easily increase this to about billion US dollars in a matter of one year if we grab this opportunity.”

A qualified seafarer holds a Continuous Certificate of Discharge (CDC) an identity document, certifying that holder is a seaman recognized under the rules of The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers (STCW).

Ratanyake said Sri Lanka ports are being developed as a crew change hub and the plan would be submitted to President Gotabaya Rajapaska.

Each month there was a demand for about 2,500 crew member changes from ships passing Sri Lanka.

Representatives from Sri Lanka’s shipping community had met President Rajapaksa on May 18.

“The representatives of the shipping companies revealed that daily more than 300 trade vessels sail 10 nautical miles away from the Galle Port,” the President’s office said.

“They pointed out that by creating an environment for those sailors to return to their respective countries via Sri Lanka will pave the way to generate huge foreign exchange revenue.

“..[T]he Galle harbor could be developed into a Global Crew Exchange Hub.

“President instructed the officials to adhere to health guidelines and regulations in the course of implementing this programme.”

Aircraft carrying crew for ships had arrived at Sri Lanka’s Mattala Airport, providing business for airports as well. (Colombo/May19/2020)