A new state of the art 30m Type Patrol Boat, presented by Japan was launched by the State Minister of Defence Hon. Ruwan Wijewardene at the Sumidagawa Shipyard Co. Ltd premises in Tokyo on Monday (06th November 2017). The State Minister visited the shipbuilding company during his visit to Japan on a special invitation extended by that country.
The customary launching ceremony saw the first of the two such vessels, provided to Sri Lanka on a grant, being vested with the pennant number '501' by the State Minister. Later, in keeping with Japanese traditional customs the State Minister cut a guy rope and launched the new vessel.
Speaking at the ceremony, State Minister Wijewardene thanked the Japanese Government and JICA for their support to uplift the economy of the country and also develop the Sri Lanka Coast Guard. The Japanese Government has always been helpful to Sri Lanka and both countries have maintained close ties over the years, he said.
We have achieved peace after thirty years of conflict and now we have to rethink and re-evaluate our national defence policies. We have to concentrate on protecting our waters and for that we need a robust Coast Guard and an efficient Navy, he reiterated. He cited illegal fishing and smuggling of narcotics from neighboring countries into the country as issues faced regarding our waters. He also mentioned of the benefits that these two vessels will provide to the Sri Lanka Coast Guard.
Religious dignitaries, the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Japan H.E. Prof. D. Ganganath Disanayake, Japanese state officials, JICA representatives and officials of the shipbuilding company were also present at the launching ceremony.
According to Sri Lanka Coast Guard, the two vessels are provided on a grant extended by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) based on the Grant Agreement signed by the Sri Lanka Government and JICA on 30th June 2016. Each Patrol Boat will have an endurance of 750 nautical miles at 12 knots and the maximum trial speed is designed to be 27 knots or more at half load condition.
The '501' vessel will augment the fledgling fleet of the SLCG and assist in its operations to strengthen law enforcement and safety capacity at sea, pollution control, marine rescues and marine environmental conservation capacity.