"White Elephant" Begins Bunkering

Sri Lanka's government is to begin bunkering facilities at the 360-million-U.S.-dollar Hambanthota International Port, the port authority said in a statement on Friday. This port is often dubbed by the main opposition - the United National Party - as a "white elephant" which has not produced desired results since its establishment.

The total cost of the first phase of the project is estimated at 360 million U.S. dollars, excluding 76.5 million U.S. dollars for the bunker terminal.

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When all three phases are completed, the harbor is expected to cost around 1.2 billion U.S. dollars and be the largest in South Asia.

The oil tank farm, comprising 14 tanks, will be officially opened by Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa on June 23.

The farm has eight tanks for fuel bunkering facilities for vessels, three tanks for aero fuel and three tanks for storing LP gas. The 14 tanks will also have an overall capacity of 80,000 cubic meters.

"The project is composed of five up right tanks with dome in 10, 000 cubic meters, three up right tanks with dome in 5,000 cubic meters, three up right tanks with dome in 3,000 cubic meters, three spherical LPG tanks with 2,000 cubic meters and all necessary auxiliary facilities," the Sri Lanka Ports Authority ( SLPA) said in a statement.

The tank farm can initially handle 55,000 tons of shipping fuel with eight tanks and is expected to add another 100,000 tons under the second phase.

The Sri Lankan government expects as many as 4,500 oil tankers to anchor at Hambantota for bunkering, ship repairing and also to purchase food, water, medical supplies as well as other logistics.



(with inputs from peopledaily.com.cn)

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