Lanka Mahapola Released From Detention: Now Not Flying The Sri Lankan Flag
By Faraz Shauketaly
Lanka Mahapola, the vessel owned by the Ceylon Shipping Corporation (CSCL) and hired out to upstart maritime company Triple S Shipping has finally been released from its detention order in South Africa. The Sunday Leader has obtained exclusive photographs showing that the vessel is now flying the Tanzanian flag and has mysteriously stopped flying the Sri Lanka flag. Several weeks earlier in the saga, Ceylon Shipping Corporation – the owners – confirmed that their permission had not been given to change the flag of registry. The Chairman of CSCL said, “The CSCL priority remains the reacquisition of the vessel. If there are any violations of the Charter Party we will take those issues up at the appropriate forum”. The Charter Party refers to the formal agreement between the vessel owner and the hirer, Triple S Shipping.
Maritime sources questioned the ability of Triple S Shipping to carry out this very significant change without the concurrence of the owners and allegedly the Director General of Merchant Shipping in Colombo. Ordinarily, the concurrence of both would be required. The CSCL was adamant that no such permission was given by them.
Photographs taken of the vessel were shared with The Sunday Leader after various repairs were carried out on the vessel.
These repairs were deemed essential as the South African Port Authorities were unwilling to let the vessel sail. All the photographs were supplied to the CSCL by Triple S Shipping. Very significantly however none of the photographs shows the flag the vessel is flying.