MEPA investigating possible damage to Little Basses Reef

MEPA investigating possible damage to Little Basses Reef

MEPA investigating possible damage to Little Basses Reef

Written by Zulfick Farzan

25 Jan, 2021 | 10:52 am

Colombo (News 1st); Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Authority launched an investigation to ascertain if the marine environment at Little Basses Reef was damaged after a bulk carrier, the MV Eurosun ran aground on Saturday (23).

MEPA Chairperson Attorney-at-Law Darshani Lahandapura said a 05 member team will lead the investigation and the Marine Environment Protection Authority will also explore the possibility of claiming compensation if any harm was caused to the marine environment.

Little Basses Reef is a very sensitive marine environment and MEPA’s Incident Management Team has been placed on standby to attend to any emergency situation with respect to Little Basses Reef and to MV Eurosun.

On Sunday (24) Sri Lanka Naval Ship (SLNS) ‘Rathnadeepa’ boarded with a team of Navy divers reached MV ‘Eurosun’ that ran aground at Little Basses about 5.5 nautical miles (10km) off the southeastern coast of the island on 23rd January.

According to the preliminary investigation, no damage to the bulk carrier’s hull was reported and there was no sign of water leaking into the ship or oil into the ocean, said Sri Lanka Navy.

It was also revealed that 15 Filipino nationals including the captain of the ship and 03 Ethiopian nationals were safe on board.

Meanwhile, the Navy divers carried out a diving operation to scan the underwater profile of the bulk carrier on Sunday morning (24th January) and it was confirmed that the carrier’s underwater profile is unharmed from the accident.

However, it was observed that 70m long part of the ship’s keel was resting on the rocky and sandy bottom.

In the meantime, high tide experienced in the evening has refloated the bulk carrier and the prevailing current helped to move the ship out of the danger.

Naval divers are to carry out another underwater inspection of the ship to ascertain the safe to sail condition of the ship once it anchored safely.

Apart from that, Sri Lanka Coast Guard Ship ‘Samudraraksha’ has also been sent out to the location with the necessary equipment to manage an oil leak, if occurs.

Moreover, Tug Pandukabhaya of Hambanthota International Port Group has been placed in the vicinity for assistance.

Moreover, Navy diving teams assessed whether damages have been inflicted on the bulk carrier’s hull due to the grounding, yet no such damages have been reported by observations made thus far.

Preliminary investigations have revealed that the bulk carrier sailing under the Liberian flag has a shipment of over 33,000 MT of clinker and storage of about 720 MT of bunker.

Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC Colombo) located at Navy Headquarters is carefully observing the developments into the incident.

The 180-meter long bulk carrier is manned by a crew of 18.

Sri Lanka Air Force on Saturday (23) said the No 3 Maritime Squadron of SLAF deployed a Beechcraft model 200 airplane for aerial reconnaissance.

The vessel EUROSUN (IMO: 9546227, MMSI 636015312) is a Bulk Carrier built in 2012 (9 years old) and currently sailing under the flag of Liberia.

Robinson I Shipping Corp is listed as the registered owner of the ship and Eurotankers Inc is listed as the current operator.

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