Sri Lanka indicts skipper of fire-stricken oil tanker; slaps $108,000 penalty


FILE PHOTO: The New Diamond, a very large crude carrier (VLCC) chartered by Indian Oil Corp (IOC), that was carrying the equivalent of about 2 million barrels of oil, is seen after a fire broke out off east coast of Sri Lanka September 3, 2020. Sri Lankan Airforce media/Handout via REUTERS
FILE PHOTO: The New Diamond, a very large crude carrier (VLCC) chartered by Indian Oil Corp (IOC), that was carrying the equivalent of about 2 million barrels of oil, is seen after a fire broke out off east coast of Sri Lanka September 3, 2020. Sri Lankan Airforce media/Handout via REUTERS

SRI LANKA on Thursday(8) indicted the Greek skipper of a fire-damaged supertanker for causing an oil spill and failing to report the environmental damage to the island’s waters.



The Panamanian-registered New Diamond, travelling from Kuwait to India with 270,000 tonnes of crude oil, was passing by Sri Lanka’s east coast when the fire broke out on September 3.

Firefighters succeeded in putting out the blaze, and the crude remained unaffected but some of the tanker’s fuel leaked.

Attorney-General Dappula de Livera filed charges against Steiros Ilas Kardany in the Colombo High Court under two counts that carry a maximum penalty of 20 million rupees ($108,000).



A date for a hearing is yet to be announced.

The fire started after an engine room boiler exploded, killing one crew member.

The remaining crew of 22, including the skipper, were rescued and are currently in Sri Lanka.



The stricken tanker was towed to Sharjah’s Khorfakkan port in the United Arab Emirates after the owners paid Sri Lanka a claim of $2.38 million for dousing the fire.

Greece-based Porto Emporios Shipping Inc is the registered owner of the 20-year old Panama-flagged very large crude carrier New Diamond, according to Refinitiv data. New Shipping Ltd is the manger of the vessel.