Written by Zulfick Farzan
11 Aug, 2022 | 6:34 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st); The Harbour Master for the Hambantota Port says that the Yuan Wang 5, a ballistic missile and satellite tracking ship in China's research vessel fleet, will not reach port today.
He said that no vessel can enter the Hambantota Port without his permission.
The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry already requested China to defer the arrival of the Yuan Wang 5, a ballistic missile and satellite tracking ship in China's research vessel fleet.
However, there is no announcement on whether or not this vessel will be allowed to enter the Hambantota Port.
The Yuan Wang 5 left its Chinese Port of Origin on the 14th of July, and until now it has not entered a single port along its route.
The vessel has been sailing for approximately 28 days with zero replenishment.
On the 28th of June 2022, China announced that the Yuan Wang 5 would reach the Hambantota Port and the Foreign Ministry granted approval on the 12th of July.
However, on the 8th of August 2022, Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry in a letter to the Chinese Embassy requested for the ship to be delayed, however, the Yuan Wang 5 had already entered the Indian Ocean by that time.
However, the statement from the Foreign Ministry did not specify the reason for such a request.
In recent days, Indian media reports suggested that Indian authorities had voiced their protest against the arrival of the Yuan Wang 5, citing security concerns.
When News 1st made an inquiry from the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka on Wednesday (10) on this matter, the High Commission said NO COMMENT.
On Wednesday (10) vessel trackers showed that the Yuan Wang 5 was moving away from its course to Sri Lanka, however, on Thursday (11) the vessel was back on its course to Sri Lanka.
The Yuan Wang 5 was approximately 600 nautical miles away from the southern port of Hambantota in the Sea of Sri Lanka as of Thursday (11) evening.
The vessel is now facing the Bay of Bengal from the east of Sri Lanka.
An observation of the course of the Yuan Wang 5 revealed that it was passing over the Ninety East Ridge, a mid-ocean ridge on the Indian Ocean floor named for its near-parallel strike along the 90th meridian at the center of the Eastern Hemisphere.
On Tuesday (9) the Yuan Wang 5 made a slight change to its course and proceeded over the Ninety East Ridge, at low speed.
In 2021, a Chinese government survey ship, the Xiang Yang Hong 03, was operating in the same region in the Indian Ocean and carrying out a search pattern west of Sumatra.
A Pakistan warship is on its maiden voyage to Pakistan while exercising en route with Cambodian and Malaysian navies. The ship is expected to be at Colombo port from August 12-15, 2022.
Chinese built Pakistani-guided missile frigate PNS Taimur to make a port call at Colombo while on its way to join the Pakistan Navy in Karachi, and India too had focused its attention on this vessel as well.
While Sri Lanka permitted the Pakistani guided missile frigate to make a port call at Colombo, it is understood that the ship was denied permission to make a port call at Chattogram port by the Sheikh Hasina government from August 7-10 after making a port call at Lumut port in Malaysia.
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