The Melody arrived with Hambantota's first bunker cargo on April 2. Image Credit: Belt & Road Initiative Sri Lanka
The first tanker with a marine fuel cargo has arrived at Hambantota, heralding the long-awaited restart of bunkering operations at the Sri Lankan port.
The tanker Melody arrived at Hambantota on April 2 with its first bunker shipment, the Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka said on its Twitter account last week.
The Marshall Islands-flagged refined products vessel brought the cargo from Singapore, according to vessel tracking websites.
Sri Lanka has long harboured ambitions to be regional bunkering and shipping hub to rival Singapore.
Plans to make the port of Hambantota part of a bigger bunkering service have faced a variety of setbacks over the past decade.
Control of the port was handed over to Chinese interests via a 99-year lease in 2017, a move subsequently criticised by the current Sri Lankan government.