Sri Lanka Express

India, Japan buddy up with oil import terminal to counter China’s influence in SL

May 25, 2017
India and Japan will join hands to set up a $ 250 million LNG import
terminal in Sri Lanka, the first collaboration between the two to
counter China’s growing influence in the Island nation.

Petronet LNG Ltd, India’s biggest gas importer, last year proposed
to set up an up to 2 million tonne (MT) liquefied natural gas (LNG)
import facility on the coast of Sri Lanka to meet its energy needs.

Sri Lanka, however, wanted Japan also to have a role in it.

“An agreement has been reached between the governments of India,
Sri Lanka and Japan to set up the LNG terminal as a 50:50 joint venture

by Petronet and a Japanese company,” Petronet Managing Director and
CEO Prabhat Singh said here.

Japan is yet to identify the company which will form an equal joint venture with Petronet for setting up the terminal. 

Without giving details, Singh said the import facility will be set up at Kerawalapitiya on western coast.

Sri Lanka has plans to build a 300 MW gas-fired power plant in Kerawalapitiya adjoining an existing power plant. The existing plant which uses oil to generate power, would also be converted to LNG once the terminal is set up and gas imports start.

LNG has become significantly cheaper in the last year and many countries have begun switching their power plants to LNG.

Singh said the LNG terminal, which will import super- cooled natural gas in ships, will take two-and-half to three years to build.

The terminal in Sri Lanka is part of Petronet’s vision to own 30 MT per annum of LNG import and re-gasification capacity by 2020, he said.

Petronet already operates a 15 MTPA import facility at Dahej in Gujarat and has another 5 MT terminal at Kochi in Kerala.

It has signed preliminary agreement to build a 7.5 MT LNG terminal in Bangladesh and is also looking at setting up smaller facility in Mauritius.

Singh said Dahej is also being expanded to 17.5 MT over the next two years.

The India-Japan collaboration comes after a string of Chinese successes in Sri Lanka. China has managed to revive its flagship $ 1.4 billion Colombo Port City project and is also engaged in expansion of major infrastructure projects it built in the past.

These projects include expansion of the Hambantota port and the Mattala airport.

Source: PTI


Supreme Court jury finds man guilty of smuggling Tamil migrants to Canada

MV Sun Sea, docked at Nanaimo

  May 28, 2017
VANCOUVER -- A Sri Lankan accused of bringing hundreds of Tamil migrants into Canada illegally in a dilapidated cargo ship nearly seven years ago has been found guilty.

Crown counsel Charles Hough says a B.C. Supreme Court jury found Kunarobinson Christhurajah guilty Saturday of human smuggling 10 or more persons.

It was a retrial for the Sri Lankan national over his involvement in the voyage of the MV Sun Sea that travelled from Thailand to British Columbia's coast in 2010 carrying 492 Sri Lankan Tamils who intended to claim refugee status.

Christhurajah, was listed as the owner of the ship, considered unseawothy in the open ocean, and was  one of six men charged with human smuggling in connection with the operation.

A previous trial heard Christhurajah was an asylum seeker and travelled on the Sun Sea with his wife.  The trial which ended in January acquitted three other men who had been accused human smuggling in the case, but the jury at the time was left undecided on Christhurajah.

Christhurajah served more than six years in jail before being granted bail in February.

Christhurajah claimed in newspaper interviews that the ownership documents of the MV Sun Sea were written in Thai, and he didn’t understand he was taking ownership. He said he thought he was agreeing to be a crew member to reduce the cost of the voyage on the ship to $25,000 for him and his wife, which his father paid, instead of $25,000 each.

According to the National Post, Christhurajah had been identified as a suspect in the Sun Sea operation even before the ship left Southeast Asia. He was the director of the Sun & Rashiya Co., which was registered in Thailand in 2008 for “trading and agricultural products” and later purchased the Sun Sea, then named the Harin Panich 19, the newspaper reported.

Christhurajah was among four men arrested when Thai police raided an apartment building in June 2010. Police seized supplies and engine parts they believed were being stockpiled for the voyage of the Sun Sea, including more than 500 litres of engine lubricant oil, the National Post reported.

The men were fined and handed over to immigration police for deportation, but Christhurajah disappeared and made it onto the ship.