Upon completion of its facility expansion, the Kankasanthurai harbour was declared opened for general operations 16th June 2023 with a view to making way for a passenger ferry service between India and Sri Lanka. The opening ceremony was held under the patronage of the Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation, Nimal Siripala de Silva, Minister of Fisheries, Douglas Devananda and with the attendance of Commander Northern Naval Area, Rear Admiral Aruna Tennekoon.
Following the directives of the Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera, the Sri Lanka Navy played a pivotal role in supporting the expansion of the Kankasanthurai harbour facilities by enabling its manpower and expertise, in response to a request of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Aviation. Accordingly, the project got underway on 01st February 2023. As part of the project, the Sri Lanka Navy undertook the construction of a passenger terminal for immigration and customs clearance of people who intend to use this passenger ferry service. In addition, the Navy also carried out renovation work of the jetty and installation of several other facilities on the premises. Required construction materials for the project were provided by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority.
After expeditious completion of work, under the supervision of Sri Lanka Navy Civil Engineers, the passenger terminal and peripheral facilities were opened on an auspicious note. Fittingly, the port welcomed the luxury cruise MV Empress, sailed with passengers. The Captain of the ship and its crew also joined this milestone event.
Speaking on this occasion, the Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation heaped praise on the contribution of the Sri Lanka Navy, for expeditious completion of construction work, making way for the commencement of the passenger ferry service in record time.
The passenger ferry service project is part of a larger effort to strengthen longstanding ties between India and Sri Lanka, with a focus on improving tourism. In this effort, the Navy’s involvement not only resulted in significant cost saving, but also expedited the delivery of anticipated project benefits to the public.
State officials of the Northern Province, distinguished guests, a group of officials from the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Aviation and the Ports Authority and senior officers from the Northern naval Command were also present on this occasion.