London-based shipping underwriters have formally lifted a war-risk classification from Sri Lanka’s ports a year after the island ended its decades-long ethnic war, the foreign ministry said Friday.
The Lloyd’s Market Association removed Sri Lankan ports from the high-risk category from earlier this month, the foreign ministry said in a statement. It said the move would increase business confidence in Sri Lanka and encourage more shipments of cargo through Colombo’s harbour.
The ministry quoted the underwriters as saying that an independent analysis had prompted them to remove the surcharge on Sri Lanka. Insurance firms had relaxed a war-risk surcharge on Colombo-bound cargo two months ago. The insurance surcharges were slapped on Sri Lanka after Tamil Tiger rebels staged a commando-style attack and destroyed six civilian jets parked at the island’s only international airport in July 2001.
The rebels also attempted to bomb the main Colombo harbour using light aircraft and carried out suicide attacks against several ports before they were wiped out in a major military campaign last year. Since the crushing of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) last year there have been no guerrilla attacks in the island. The United Nations estimates that up to 100,000 people were killed in the fighting between 1972 and May last year.
Colombo, July 16, 2010 (AFP)