Water influx ceremony at Hambantota

President Mahinda Rajapaksa inaugurates water influx ceremony at 'Magampura International Harbour'.

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Updated on 16 Aug 2010 07:40 GMT

Sri Lanka's Hambantota Harbour was filled with water on Sunday August 15th in a ceremony attended by the country's President.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa initiated the mechanism to fill water to the harbour basin, commenting: "Every drop of water that fills up this great port should dissolve and wipe out the feelings of weakness and inability that once prevailed among us."

"This a great symbol of our moving away from the days when we said we are unable to develop for lack of funds, to a time when we can show how the country can be developed through our own strength," President Rajapaksa added.

The China-financed Hambantota Port Development project, which commenced on January 15th 2008, was initially due to be completed by April 15th 2011, and has proceeded ahead of schedule despite reports in September 2008 that the project was facing suspension due to a cash flow crisis.

President Rajapaksa said the harbour would contribute immensely to the development of the country as it would create an opportunity for Sri Lanka to become a production hub of the world.

The first phase of the project will consist of two 600 metres of general purpose berths, a 310-metre bunkering berth and a 120-metre small craft berth.

Phase one will also include a bunkering facility and tank farm, which will contain 8 tanks for marine fuel, 3 tanks containing aviation fuel and 3 for Liquid Petroleum Gas. A 15-floor administrative complex is also under construction as part of the project.

The new bunkering terminal at Hambantota is expected to provide a major boost to the Sri Lankan bunker market and it is hoped that, together with Colombo, Hambantota will become a leading port in the country. The port has been named Magampura International harbour.