• Monday, May 23, 2022

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Sri Lanka to take legal action against tanker’s owner after fire

FILE PHOTO: A Sri Lankan Navy boat sprays water on 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, after a fire broke out off east coast of Sri Lanka September 8, 2020. Sri Lankan Airforce media/Handout via REUTERS

By: Pramod Thomas

SRI LANKA will take legal action against the owner of the oil supertanker that caught fire on Thursday (3) as there is a large leakage of bunker oil from the stricken vessel, an official at the marine environment protection authority said.

“We are deciding whether to claim criminal liability or civil liability or both,” Jagath Gunesekara, deputy general manager of the authority said. He said action will be filed under Sri Lankan laws protecting the marine ecosystem.

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. There was no immediate comment from either company.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan navy said on Wednesday(9) it had extinguished another fire on a stricken supertanker loaded with 2 million barrels of oil and is towing it to deeper water.

The navy’s disaster management team put out the fire that reignited on Monday(7) on the MT New Diamond, and there were currently no fires burning on the ship which is 41 nautical miles (76 kms) off Sri Lanka’s east coast.

Officials were working to assess any damage to the environment from the incident, which began on September 3 when a fire broke out in the engine room.

On Tuesday, the navy spotted an oil slick a kilometre from the supertanker, chartered by Indian Oil Corp to import about 2 million barrels of oil from Kuwait.

The spill appeared to come from the engine room.

“We are certain the leak is not from the crude oil storage tanks. We are readying a team of divers to detect the exact spot of the leak,” navy spokesman Indika de Silva said.

Three members of a salvage team had boarded the tanker, he added.

Eastern Eye

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