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February 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 43, No. 2   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Sri Lanka Aggressor Postscript

from the February, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

This was posted by a diver from the Pacific Northwest on ScubaBoard, "Has anyone here been on the Sri Lanka Aggressor yet? I'm nervous about a trip a friend and I are booked on in February because the boat is being pulled out of the water for additional maintenance."

Someone based in France replied, "I was on a canceled trip recently. Appears that they have a stability issue with the strong currents when the vessel is moored, causing a lot of rock'n'roll and plenty green faces. I think it will be more than just 'maintenance' -- more like a refit or some structural changes to make it right."

Rumors are rife.

In January's Undercurrent, we reported Mike Jöst's unfortunate attempt to enjoy a trip over Christmas on the Sri Lanka Aggressor. If you've ever had a bad trip, read Mike's reader report. It started this way and didn't get any better:

"There never ever started a vacation with that many calamities than this one. First Air Sri Lanka stopped its service out of Frankfurt; had to go via London to catch the direct flight. Heathrow had a foggy day, no flights out or in; they changed my booking onto Emirates with a 6-hour layover in Dubai; reached my destination at midnight. The Aggressor canceled its cruise only two days prior to my departure; had to find some alternative in the last minute. On my way home, a foggy day in Abu Dhabi (the first they said), 2-hour delay, my train home was long gone reaching Frankfurt. Shit happens, it seems."

Regarding the cancelation of his trip on the Sri Lanka Aggressor, Undercurrent has since been alerted to a report by a Sri Lankan LBO on-line newspaper dated 21st September. This is the report verbatim:

"The Sri Lankan Aggressor, a yacht named after the island, has been blocked by the Secretariat of Merchant Shipping from registering pending IACS classification. Releasing a statement, Yacht operator TVB Group said they delayed the launch of their new 'Aggressor' branded Super Luxury Liveaboard Yacht in Sri Lanka due to this IACS issue.

TVB said the yacht operations were scheduled to commence on 3rd September 2016 with the launch of its first weekly liveaboard charter.

"At least 7 weeks of charters have now been canceled and the whole development is now in jeopardy as the yacht lies idle in the Colombo harbor," the statement said.

"Charters and safari lodge trips which have now been canceled are costing Aggressor Fleet, local Helitour airlines, local 5 Star hotels and Sri Lanka an estimated $700,000 foreign currency."

Merchant Shipping, which falls under the Ports Ministry, however, says no vessel shall be registered unless at the time of registration, such vessel is classed by one of the 12 IACS Member classification societies.

The International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) is a technically based organization consisting of 12 marine classification societies headquartered in London. This classification verifies the compliance of technical and engineering standards for the design of ships.

TVB, however, charged that the Merchant Shipping wants all commercial yachts that want to operate in Sri Lanka to hold an IACS classification.

"The problem is none of the 1000 yachts operating in the Red Sea in Egypt or the 430 yachts operating in the Maldives or the 500-plus yachts in Thailand are ever built to IACS classification," TVB said.

"Merchant Shipping is asking for something that no other commercial yachting tourism national asks for and dooming any new fleet development before one yacht can start to operate."

TVB Group further said they are continuing to work with their local representatives, lawyers and the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority to find a solution.

The group also hopes that more weeks will not have to be canceled, disappointing thousands more international tourists over the next three years and costing Sri Lanka valuable tourism revenue and the launch of new Super Yacht Tourism business sector for the island." (Source: Lanka Business Online)

It looks like the Aggressor Fleet was being over-optimistic when it accepted the bookings and not particularly accurate with the reasons for cancellations.

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