MT New Diamond was damaged by two fires over a week in early September. The owner has agreed to pay $1.8 million to SriLanka for its help in extinguishing the fire, said an official on Thursday.
The large oil tanker carrying almost 2 million barrels of crude oil is owned by Greece-based Porto Emporios Shipping Inc.
They agreed to pay the amount a week after Attorney General Dappula de Livera submitted an interim claim of $1.8 million for services provided by the Sri Lankan air force, navy, Marine Environment Protection Authority and the ports authority for dousing the fire since on September 3.
A boiler explosion in its engine room was the cause of the fire. The 20-year-old vessel was travelling from Mina Al Ahmadi port in Kuwait to the Indian port of Paradip where the state-owned Indian Oil Corp. has a refinery when the accident happened off the coast of Sangamankanda in Ampara district.
Experts have been working to restore the ship, which is still in the Sri Lankan waters.
The coordinating officer in the Attorney General’s Department, Nishara Jayaratne said the attorney general is expected to present another claim of about half a million dollars for additional costs incurred on the ship. She also said that the interim report on environmental damage has been submitted to the ship’s owner and that there will be a separate claim for that which will be presented after the final report is complete.
The Attorney General had ordered the police to record a statement from the ship’s Greek captain as he has been named a suspect in the fire. He is also to appear in court on September 28. He was to be charged under the Marine Pollution Environmental Protection Act for committing offences.
One Indian Naval ship, three Indian coast guard vessels and two Sri Lankan Naval ships are currently stationed near the oil tanker in the operations.
The tanker had 23 crew members – 18 Filipinos and five Greeks. Twenty-two of the 23-member crew had been safely rescued off the tanker. The initial fire killed one Filipino crew member and injured another, while 21 other crew members escaped uninjured. They are currently staying in a coronavirus isolation centre for seafarers.