Sri Lanka confirmed that they will file pollution and negligence charges on oil tanker MT New Diamond that leaked heavy fuel oil (HFO) off the nation’s coast after a week of fire.
The country is seeking for compensation on the basis of firefighting efforts and has also planned for charges against the captain.
A spokesperson from the Attorney General’s office said that they are seeking compensation from the owner of the ship for ongoing recoveries and costs incurred in firefighting.
Sri Lanka sought an initial compensation of Rs. 340 million (approx. USD $2 million).
Image Credits: Indian Coast Guard
Though 270,000 tonnes of crude oil cargo was unaffected by the fire, some 1700 tonnes of heavy fuel oil was poured into the Indian Ocean which created an oil slick covering approx. 2 kilometres.
Much of the oil slick has been cleaned and further no leakage of oil have been found from the oil tanker.
There is a breach on the port side of the superstructure and a crack in the hull above the waterline. Although divers have gone down to the bottom of the ship to fix the crack in the hull to prevent any further leakage of oil from the ship.
According to the Sri Lankan Navy, the vessel is owned by Liberian-registered Porto Emporios Shipping Inc. and managed by Greek shipowner, New Shipping Limited.
Sri Lanka has asked the shipowner to tow the oil tanker beyond the exclusive economic zone, which extends 220 nautical miles (approx. 370 km) from its coast. The tanker is now located at 70 miles east from Sri Lankan coastal town of Batticaloa.
The Sri Lankan environmentalists were fearing that transferring of cargo oil to another ship might cause a maritime disaster which will affect their coast. As the coast is used by Sri Lankan Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard for various purposes.
The fire was caused due to an explosion in the boiler of the ship, which killed one Filipino crew member out of 23 crews present onboard. Rest 22 crew members were rescued safely and are now quarantined at a hotel in Galle and under the supervision on Navy.