Written by Zulfick Farzan
03 Oct, 2020 | 6:42 pm
Colombo (News 1st); The ill fated crude oil taker MT New Diamond is being towed away from Sri Lanka against the Marine Environment Protection Authority 0r MEPA directive and the Attorney General’s advise regarding pending marine pollution claim, said State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne, the Co-ordinating officer to the Attorney General on Saturday (03).
On Friday (02) it was reported the The Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) yesterday authorized the owners of the crude oil tanker, ‘MT New Diamond’; to tow the vessel out of Sri Lankan waters, although Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) opposed the move.
Permission was granted to commence operations to tow away distressed crude oil tanker, the MT New Diamond, based on the assurance the claims made by Sri Lanka are paid, said Captain Indika De Silva the Spokesperson for the Sri Lanka Navy on Friday (02).
It is reported, it would take at least two months for the MT New Diamond to be towed-away from Sri Lankan waters.
MEPA Chairperson Darshani Lahandapura confirmed to News 1st, permission was not granted to tow-away the distressed crude oil tanker, the MT New Diamond, from Sri Lankan waters on Thursday (02) and on Friday (01) she said the ship is to be moved inside Sri Lankan territorial waters.
On Thursday (01) Attorney General Dappula De Livera had informed the Marine Environment Protection Authority the negotiations pertaining to the claim regarding the marine pollution caused by the distressed crude oil tanker, MT New Diamond, are pending and other claims are yet to be settled.
On the 26th of September, The Owners and Salvors of the distressed Crude Oil Tanker, the MT New Diamond, informed Attorney General Dappula De Livera of their agreement to immediately settle in full the claim of Rs. 442 Million.
Speaking to News 1st on Thursday (01), State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne, the Coordinating Officer to the Attorney General said the Marine Environment Protection Authority had also informed the Attorney General of the fact the relevant authorities have been informed and instructed, that approval permitting the MT New Diamond to leave Sri Lankan waters will only be granted after the negotiations are completed regarding oil pollution damage.
The MT New Diamond crude oil tanker was transporting 270,000 metric tons of crude oil from the port of Meena Al Ahmadi in Kuwait to the Port of Paradip in India when a fire broke out aboard in the eastern seas of Sri Lanka on 03rd September 2020 at around 0800 hrs.
The ship was sailing 38 nautical miles off Sangamankanda Point when it caught fire with an explosion in a boiler in the ship’s main engine room.
The distressed oil tanker in eastern seas was manned by 23 crew members including 5 Greeks and 18 Philippine nationals.
It was also reported that 1700 metric tons of diesel required for the use of the tanker are also stored onboard.
MT New Diamond is a 20-year old crude oil tanker that is 333 meters long and 60 meters wide, and sailed with a Japanese certificate and is registered in Panama.
The fully laden New Shipping-controlled tanker suffered a boiler explosion a month ago, resulting in a sizeable fire centered around its accommodation block.
India and Sri Lanka deployed significant resources to douse the blaze. Some bunker fuel spilt from the tanker last month.
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