Sri Lankan shipbuilding hits new high

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 24 June 2019


Sri Lankan shipbuilding records tumbled last Friday when Colombo Dockyard delivered its biggest and most sophisticated vessel, the submarine cable-laying ship KDDI Cable Infinity built for Japan's Kokusai Cable Ship Co.

The 9,766gt ship is the largest and most expensive ever built by Colombo Dockyard, the country’s largest and oldest shipbuilder. The ship is 113m in length and has a 21.5m beam and accommodation for 80 personnel. It was designed by VARD and will be the most modern cable layer in the Japanese fleet. As well as communications cable – its owner has major contracts across Asia, the ship can be used to install power cables for offshore windfarms.


Colombo Dockyard is a flagship investment of Japan and operates in joint collaboration with Onomichi Dockyard Company. Sri Lankan Government institutions hold more than 35% stake in the Company.

The company believes that the successful building of Cable Infinity will encourage the Sri Lankan government to allow it to bid for government projects which until now it has been excluded from because of a requirement that any yard bidding for a contract must have prior experience of building a ship of the type. Colombo Dockyard has previously been refused permission to bid for dredger contracts but its ability to build the cable layer – a type with which it had no previous experience – may allow the government to review its policy.

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