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“Sri Lanka Bars Research Activities for German Vessel ‘Sonne’ Amid One-Year Moratorium”

Sri Lanka has prohibited research activities for the German vessel ‘Sonne’ in adherence to a one-year moratorium on such endeavors involving foreign ships within its Exclusive Economic Zone. However, replenishment activities will be permitted for the vessel at the Colombo port, as per information obtained by Daily Mirror.

The government’s decision to impose a moratorium on foreign research ships entering its waters for a year stems from concerns raised by India regarding Chinese research vessels docking in neighboring areas. This announcement followed China’s request for the deployment of another research vessel. Sri Lanka’s response to these growing concerns is perceived as a reaction to India’s apprehensions.

In recent instances, the Chinese research ship Shi Yan 6 docked at the Colombo port for several days last October, and in 2022, the navy vessel Yuan Wang 5 docked at Hambantota in southern Sri Lanka. Additionally, China sought permission for its scientific research vessel Xiang Yang Hong 3 to conduct “deep water exploration” in the south Indian Ocean from January 5, 2024. The Sri Lankan government declined permission in accordance with the new regulations, leading to China expressing dissatisfaction with the decision.

Germany had requested permission for its vessel before Sri Lanka announced the new regulations. However, with the moratorium now in effect, the government has banned research activities for foreign vessels, including the ‘Sonne’.

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