23rd May 2020 14:55:13 Hours
A consortium of high-level shipping magnates, inclusive of state sector policy-makers in the Presidential Task Force (PTF) Friday (22) afternoon during a meeting at the Army HQ, chaired by Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army discussed and explored ways and means of devising practical arrangements in regard to change of ship crew members on rotation basis through Sri Lankan ports since many world-wide ports are reluctant to allow disembarkation or embarkation of crew members due to risks involved in COVID-19 pandemic.
Those leading shipping magnates pointed out that nearly 3000 plus ship crew members, including many Sri Lankans remain helplessly stranded at global ports, being unable to board their vessels or disembark and Sri Lanka could work out a feasible module to evacuate them while coordinating with foreign partners since Sri Lanka in the past two months managed to rescue about 12 such persons at sea and treat them accordingly in the best possible manner with prioritized concern for their quarantining in Sri Lanka. Availability of necessary hotels, airport and port evacuation strategies, cost of those operations, roles of the state sector and private sector in the arrangements, health aspects, etc were among other issues taken up for discussion during this meeting.
General (retd) Daya Rathnayake, Chairman, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Admiral Professor Jayanath Colombage, Additional Secretary to the President - Foreign Relations, Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva, Commander of the Navy, Rear Admiral Y.N Jayaratne, DGNO, Sri Lanka Navy, Dr Roshan Sampath, Deputy Director Quarantine, Ministry of Health, Dr Arnold, Ministry of Health, Mr Jayantha Ratnayake, Assistant Controller Immigration, Mr Iqram Cuttilan, Chairman, Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents, Mrs Shehara Jayawardena, Vice President, Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents, Mr S. Sabar, Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents, Mr P. Dadallage, Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents, Mr A. Welagedara, Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents, Mr R. Mendis, Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents, Mr Dulith Wijethilaka, Chairman, Rakna Lanka, Captain Rajarathna, Avant Guard and Commander W.N Diyabalanage, Avant Guard were among the attendees.