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Hambantota: Bunkering Operations Commence

Published May 11, 2020
Updated May 11, 2020

Bunkering facility is likely to result in large number of vessels taking their fuel load in Hambantota given the mandatory requirement of ship operators to ensure that the ship is adequately fuelled during voyage.

In a significant development for operationalisation of the Port of Hambantota, Colombo Page reported on 08 April that China’s Sinopec unit in Sri Lanka refuelled the first ship at the Hambanthota Port in Southern marking the formal operation of its Sri Lanka subsidiary.
Sinopec refuelled the Chemical/Oil Products Tanker Melody Majuro with 25,000 tons low-sulfur fuel oil at its bunkering facility at the Hambanthota port in Southern Sri Lanka.

Headquartered in Beijing, Sinopec Group is the largest oil and petrochemical products supplier and the second-largest oil and gas producer in China. In April 2019 Sinopec Group won the bid to set up Sinopec Fuel Oil Lanka (Private) Ltd. in for bunkering services at the Hambanthota port says the Colombo Page.

China’s Sinopec won the bid to operate the Hambantota oil tank terminal and provide bunkering facilities – and will work to ensure the Sri Lankan port can guarantee supplies of IMO 2020-compliant product was to commenced in 2019.

However, as per Bunkerspot.com the preparatory work has taken longer than anticipated. Sinopec’s stated ambition is to transform Hambantota into a significant bunkering hub for South Asia, generating bunker volumes of more than one million tonnes per annum within five years.

Bunkering facility is likely to result in large number of vessels taking their fuel load in Hambantota given the mandatory requirement of ship operators to ensure that the ship is adequately fuelled during voyage.

Sri Lanka’s newest Port and a mere 15 nautical miles from the major East-West shipping route, the Port of Hambantota commenced operations in November 2010. Today, the Port boasts 4,000 metres of quay and several berths, including two dedicated oil berths.

There are plans for establishing Port of Hambantota as a centre for Ship Services, and the relatively low congestion and high availability of berths make this Port an ideal location for carrying out ship repairs and surveys.

After the Port was made operational, China in April 2018 rejected the speculations that Sri Lankan Port of Hambantota would be used as a military base in future“This is a cooperation project between China and Sri Lanka on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.

It is beneficial to local economic and social development and both parties have strong intentions to ensure the smooth progress of the project”, spokesperson of Chinese foreign ministry Hua Chunying said during her regular press briefing in Beijing.

She said as regards individual speculations from a military or other strategic point of view, “I think there is absolutely no need.

The spokesperson said regarding the Chinese “One Belt and One Road” initiative and its progress, the Chinese side has emphasized many times on various occasions,“As you mentioned that some people have different views, I think different people may have different conclusions about the same thing from different perspectives,” she added.

She said the conclusions may be different. “One Belt and One Road” is a sunshine initiative and it is hoped that relevant countries will continue to build the “Belt and Road Initiative” based on the principles of common development, sharing, sharing and sharing, and benefit the people.