Colombo commercial high court has impounded the ferry until the dispute with the caterer is settled

The dispute comes after the Indian caterer alleged that the ferry owed it 15m rupees (£187,000).

Scotia Prince has been anchored in Colombo since the middle of November and isn’t allowed to leave.

Although Bahamas registered, duty free shop owner Flemingo charter it, running a twice weekly VIP service. There are doubts over the future as too few people use what is a fairly luxurious boat.

Ferry services were only resumed in June following a gap of 30 years caused by the islands civil war.