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Sri Lanka Navy - Colombo Harbor

Colombo HarborFull maintenance facilities are available at the Colombo Dockyard, where dry-dock equipment was expanded to allow construction of large patrol vessels in the 1980s. At both Colombo and Trincomallee, a shortage of qualified maintenance personnel continued to hamper effective repair work in the 1980s.

Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) has identified the expansion of Port of Colombo to cater the increasing demand of services in the international shipping industry. After comprehensive studies the proposed development in South of Colombo Port was identified essential. This entire infrastructural development project is called Colombo Port Expansion Project (CPEP). The proposed Colombo South Harbour is situated west to the existing port of Colombo comprising an area of approximately 600 hectares. The proposed harbour has 3 terminals each having 1,200m length and facilities to accommodate 3 berths alongside. The proposed small boat harbour at the end of secondary breakwater has 400m length of quay wall. New buildings for pilot station and crew accommodation are to be constructed at the head of secondary breakwater.

Colombo can be considered a typhoon haven for most tropical cyclone threat situations. Since almost all of the tropical cyclones that threaten Colombo come from the east (94%), the location of Colombo provides excellent protection from storm-associated winds. In addition, tropical cyclones crossing the island diminish greatly in intensity. Although such an occurrence is rare at these low latitudes, if an intense tropical cyclone (greater than 100 kt maximum wind) approached from the east, evasive action to the south would be recommended. The one tropical cyclone that affected Colombo the most in the last 26 years approached from the west and contributed 50 kt sustained winds to the harbor as it passed some 50 n mi to the north. The most dangerous situation for Colombo is the developing tropical cyclone just to the southwest of Sri Lanka, which would make evasion difficult.

Colombo Harbor is approximately 1 1/4 n mi in length and 1/2 n mi in width and is totally enclosed except for the two entrances. It is an artificial harbor. Unless otherwise directed by the Master Attendant, Colombo, entrance to Colombo Harbor is to be made via the western entrance (also known as Southwest Breakwater Gate). This entrance is approximately 750 ft (229 m) wide and has a controlling depth of 34 ft (10.4 m). In the summer, the clearance between the breakwaters through this entrance can be a problem for large ships for a turn to a northern berth in the vicinity of Guide Pier, because of the heavy westerly and southwesterly swell near this entrance during the southwest monsoon. The remaining entrance, the northern, is about 630 ft (192 m) wide and has an entrance depth of 33 ft (10.1 m). The possibility exists that by 1980 the northern entrance will be closed off.

Depths over 30 ft (9.1 m) are indicated for the greater part of the harbor. Vessels are not permitted to navigate within the harbor, or to lie at moorings, or berth alongside with less than 2 ft (0.61 m) under their bottoms, except by special permission of port authorities. Ordinarily the maximum permissible length for use of the harbor is 800 ft (244 m). Maximum draft permitted alongside is 34 ft (11.0 m).

Several alongside berths are available within the harbor for deep-draft vessels and there are moorings for large and small vessels. Vessels moor between two mooring buoys with anchor forward and buoy aft. Buoys are secured by chains and are designed to take normal loads almost indefinitely. During the southwest monsoon, vessels secure head and stern between mooring buoys, heading westward with their port anchor down. During the northeast monsoon, vessels secure head and stern between mooring buoys, heading northward, with their port anchor down. Vessels using Colombo Harbor should be prepared to use both anchors. The bottom is mud and the holding is considered good.

Colombo HarborThe Colombo South Port expansion project with three terminals, each terminal having capacity of 2.4 million TEUs per annum, will increase the capacity of the Colombo Port by 160% upon completion. Over 50% of the construction work of the breakwater has been completed. Hong Kong port operator China Merchant Holdings and Aitken Spence were the sole bidders to build, design and operate a container terminal on the Southern side of the port of Colombo after the initial bidding process was nullified by the state, and negotiations with the SLPA dragged-on for almost a year. The first terminal, a join venture between the Sri Lankan Aitken Spence Group and China Merchant Holdings Ltd, was expected to be ready for operation in 2013.

A China-funded port city being constructed in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo has completed the reclamation of land from the sea and will soon be ready for the second phase, China's CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd. said on 15 January 2019. The mega 1.4-billion-U.S. dollar Colombo Port City project is co-developed by the Sri Lankan government and China's CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd under the Belt and Road Initiative. In a ceremony held at the Colombo Port City, officials said the project had marked a milestone with the completion of land reclamation and the last of the four state-of-the-art dredgers used for the sand mining operation had left the project site.

In total, 269 hectares of land from the ocean had been reclaimed. Minister of Megapolis and Western Development Patali Champika Ranawaka said the Colombo Port City was a technological marvel and one of the most spectacular development projects Sri Lanka had ever seen. "Sri Lanka is going to be the center of change in the next few years and the Port City is going to be one of the most vital projects in getting us there. The city is going to make Sri Lanka become the center of South Asia," the minister said. He added the Colombo Port City was part of China's Belt and Road Initiative, which was pushing Sri Lanka's economic outlook in an entire new direction.

Vessels awaiting berths or not wishing to enter the harbor should anchor about 1 1/2 n mi north-northwest of the western entrance. Vessels are requested not to anchor within one mile of harbor entrances. Depths range from 5 1/2 to 10 3/4 fathoms with fair to good holding of mud and sand.

The southwest monsoon brings heavy rain and winds which occasionally reach gale force (34 kt or greater). During this period a moderate swell runs near the harbor.

The land is low in the vicinity of Colombo Harbor and will not be visible from any great distance. Radar navigation is difficult because of the low profile of the coast and lack of prominent features near Colombo. In exceptionally clear weather, Adams Peak (Sri Pada) and the other mountains may be seen from great distances.

The predominant wind direction during the winter is northeasterly, with the direction becoming northwesterly during the afternoon hours. Winds also tend to increase in velocity toward a late afternoon maximum. Sustained winds can typically reach 25 kt, but only once or twice a month will they reach 34 kt (gale force).

The winds in the summer are generally southwesterly and occasionally westerly. The winds tend to be more constant in the summer than in the winter and are slightly stronger in the afternoon hours as the sea breeze enhances the southwest monsoonal flow. During summer, sustained winds can typically reach 20-25 kt, but only two or three times a month will they reach 34 kt (gale force). Some of these strong winds are associated with squall lines. It should be noted that the harbor is more sheltered from the summer southwesterly winds than from the winter wind directions.

Colombo is affected by high swell during the summer and sometimes fall. Seas up to 15-20 ft can be experienced outside Colombo Harbor while the seas inside the harbor will be only 3 ft. Pilots will probably not board vessels with seas of 15 ft or greater. Entry into the harbor with 30 kt winds or departure with 40 kt winds is not recommended.

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Page last modified: 21-01-2019 18:50:13 ZULU