Mon. Sep 28th, 2020

Colombo, Sep 16 (PTI) Sri Lanka on Wednesday asked for a claim of USD 1.8 million from the Greek owners of the oil tanker, which caught fire off the country’s eastern waters, for costs incurred on dousing the flames.

The Panama registered MT (Motor Tanker) New Diamond, a Greek-owned vessel and under charter by the Indian Oil Corporation, was carrying nearly two million barrels of crude oil from Mina Al Ahmadi port in Kuwait to the Indian port of Paradip when it caught fire off the coast of Sangamankanda in Ampara district on September 3. A Filipino crew member died and another was injured in the mishap.

Attorney General Dappula de Livera asked the company owing the ship for the claims.

The Attorney General’s office said this interim claim was in respect to the costs incurred by Sri Lankan agencies and other assistance rendered.

A further claim would be made once the ship is taken away from the Sri Lankan waters by the salvage company of the ship, officials said.

The Attorney General also directed the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to book the tanker’s captain under the Marine Pollution and Environmental Protection Act and obtain a notice against him to appear in court.

He also directed the CID to report facts about the incident to the court.

The Sri Lankan Navy with the help of Indian counterparts and coast guards doused the fire.

Navy spokesman Captain Indika Silva said the ship was currently in the sea 70 nautical miles east of Batticaloa in the east and 129 kilometers away from the Batticaloa coast.

He said the salvage company of the tanker had deployed commercial divers to check the hull of the vessel for any damages and since last Friday there was no fire in the ship.

The Navy had to douse a second fire after bringing the original fire under complete control. After the second fire was extinguished last week, salvage experts climbed on board on the ship for inspections. They have now begun salvage work, giving priority to repair a leak in the ship’s fuel tank.

Silva said two Sri Lankan Naval ships, one Indian Naval ship and 3 Indian coast guard vessels are currently deployed in the operations. PTI CORR RS RS

By Editor

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