The new Chairman of Sri Lanka Shipping Corporation Kanchana Ratwatte says discussions have been underway to resume the ferry service between Sri Lanka and India.
Indian company Flamingo Liners launched the nine-story MV Scotia Prince between Tuticorin port in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka’s Colombo port in June 2011.However, the 1000-passenger ferry halted operations in less than six months from its launch. The ship is now detained at the Colombo Ports since 18 November due to unpaid bills amounting to over US$ 400,000 as catering charges. The government, citing UNHCR statistics, has noted that the number of Sri Lankan refugees returning home from refugee camps in India has dropped in 2011 when compared to the previous year due to suspension of the Colombo-Tuticorin ferry service. The UNHCR opened up the ferry service for refugees in last October but the service was suspended a month later. The refugees prefer to take the ferry as they can carry five times more luggage than those travelling by flight. (Colombo Page)