June 23, Hambantota: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa vowed not to allow extremist groups to decide the fate of the nation and called for the public to join hands with the government to defeat forces that attempt to instigate communal and religious hatred.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the bunkering facilities at the Chinese-built Hambantota Harbor in southern Sri Lanka Sunday, President Rajapaksa said that his government will never allow any community to suppress another and urged the people not to be misled by rumors.
The President declared open the new fuel supply terminal of the harbor and the oil tank farm constructed at a cost of US$ 76 million with Chinese investment.
With the start of the bunkering facilities we have the capacity to attract more ships, thus increasing profits," the President told the gathering.
The Sri Lanka Ports Authority said following the opening of the oil tank farm at the Hambantota Port, fuel bunkering operations will commence at the newly built fuel bunkering terminal.
Eight of the 14 oil tanks will be used for fuel bunkering facilities for vessels while three tanks will be used to store jet fuel and the other three for r storing LP gas. The 14 tanks will have an overall capacity of 80,000m3.
The tank farm will initially handle 55,000 tonnes of shipping fuel with eight tanks and is expected to add further 100,000 tonnes under the second phase.
It is envisaged that many of the 4,500 oil tankers would anchor at Hambantota for bunkering, ship repairing and also to purchase food, water, medical supplies as well as logistics.
China has been Sri Lanka's largest lender with over US$ 4 billion provided for mega infrastructure projects including the Norochcholai coal power plant, Mattala International Airport and the Hambantota Harbor.
Ministers Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, MP Namal Rajapaksa and Chairman of Sri Lanka Port Authority Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrema also participated in the occasion.
(Photos by President's Media Unit)