Colombo Dockyard Celebrates forty years of excellence
Colombo Dockyard established in 1974 August 1, with the prime objective of providing ship repair facilities to the local industry requirements. The shipyard had evolved over the last for decades from a small time repair work shop to a full service ship repair facility acclaimed as an International shipyard competing with the best in the world. In addition to attending to Ship repair work, the Shipyard was also entrusted with the responsibility of building small patrol boats to the Sri Lanka Navy and Work Boats for the ports that were in operation during the early era.
The ship repair sector has been the driving sector that has been driving the shipyard to greater heights over past decades, across recessions 1990’s, 2008-13 and boom periods 1980’s, 2004-7. The Shipbuilding sector has been the driving force of the technological development of the Shipyard through the acquisition of the skills and knowledge necessary to build highly sophisticated Offshore Support Vessels for the Oil and Gas exploration and production domain.
1974 – 1984: FORMATIVE DECADE
In the early days when the facility had been in its infant stages – the workforce numbers were small and the Colombo Dockyard team’s dynamism managed to nurture this operation to handle many challenging repair projects, gaining a reputation even in those early days from international callers, especially Greek, Indian, Pakistan and Russian. Many foreign vessels were Greek trampers and Russian research vessels and tugs that were accommodated in Drydock 1,2 and 3. The local fleet owned by Ceylon Shipping Corporation (CSC) was regular callers patronizing Colombo as their home port.
This was the formative decade of the shipyard, which was given guidance by astute visionary leaders, who had identified the potential of Colombo Dockyard even at these initial stages.
Boatbuilding was done in small scale, building small and less complex boats to meet the local requirements of the Sri Lanka Navy namely 14 m Patrol Boats, 20 m Patrol Boats and 40 m Offshore Patrol Vessels and Towing Tugs, Barges, Launches for the Sri Lanka Ports Authorit
1984 – 1994: CONSOLIDATION AND EXPANSION
This decade had been where many historical milestones were reached, the 125,000 DWT drydock was commissioned (1988) the first Tanker was secured for Dock No. 04 (MT. Arun Khetarpal owned by Shipping Corporation of India. The land mark repair project of collision damage repairs to MT. Palanimalai (Also owned by Shipping Corporation of India) was successfully completed with 25 days, where 100 Tons of steel was renewed in record time, gaining commendation from the owners.
During this decade vessels handled varied from Tankers, Cattle carriers, French Naval vessels, General Cargo vessels to Bulk Carriers. Unique vessels we had handled during this era are French naval vessel Jules Vern, MV. Dulos (Library Ship) and MV. Mukairish Al Sades (Cattle Carrier).
The Shipbuilding activity too grew gradually with the experience gained and started exporting boats to Maldives and Republic of Burma. Shipbuilding also augmented its activities by gaining aluminium boat building technology to build fast patrol boats for the Sri Lanka Navy.
The turning point for the shipyard from government owned to a fully privatized facility with majority stake holding by Onomichi Dockyard Co. Ltd, Japan came during the year 1993.
1994-2004: VENTURING INTO HIGH END COMPLICATED PROJECTS
This was the decade which transformed the facility to a truly international shipyard, with the influence of the Japanese Management. Accreditation to ISO 9001: 2000 quality certification by Lloyds Register Quality Assurance, UK was a significant milestone achieved during this era.
The repair sector was performing majority of the tanker repairs in Drydock No. 04, where in some years we had carried out drydocking of 12-14 tankers annually. This era also marked the first Offshore Drill unit repairs MODU. Sagar Vijay, major layup repairs we had carried out successfully.
Shipbuilding progressed well with majority of the aluminium fast patrol boat requirement of the Sri Lanka Navy which formed the backbone of the fleet being supplied by Colombo Dockyard. In addition, with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority’s modernization of the Colombo Port, building of highly complex Harbour Berthing Tugs was entrusted to Colombo Dockyard, which was successfully carried out.
As socially responsible corporate from the start, special focus on yard safety practices were given high priority during this decade. This also helped the company to take on mega projects in the marine sector as well as land based, such as the construction of the LPG storage Terminal for Shell in Muthurajawela.
2004-2014 SHIP REPAIR SECTOR LEARNINGS HELP THE NEWBUILD SECTOR TO GO INTERNATIONAL
This decade had a mixed effect on the repair industry, as the shipping market peaked to highest levels in the history (2007/8) and subsequent historic economic crash.