ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is planning its legal strategy to sue the owners of the Supertanker that caught fire off its shores and is currently leaking bunker fuel into the sea, officials said.
At a meeting held today between the Chairperson of the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) Dharshini Lahandapura, its Director-General Dr Terney Pradip Kumara and Attorney General Dappula de Livera it was decided to set up a Command Centre to monitor and deal with the situation.
Kumara had informed the AG that his team had confirmed that the oil that was leaking from the vessel was not Diesel but another oil.
It was decided that samples be given to the Government Analyst for a report. He should report how this oil would affect marine life, the meeting decided.
Kumara led an expert team that visited the site and took samples from the scene.
It was also decided that the owner be asked to have the vessel towed to a position 200 Nautical miles away from its current position, the AG’s spokeswoman Nishara Jayaratne said.
Kumara told the meeting that this can be considered a tier-one leak, under Sri Lankan Marine Environment Protection Laws and that it is clear that the oil came from the vessel.
Meanwhile, Navy Media Spokesman Captain Indika de Silva told reporters that a team of divers and disaster management specialists of the Sri Lanka Navy will board the MT New Diamond after observing the report of the international salvage team.
By this evening three specialists of the International Salvage team who got on board the ship today were discussing their observations after getting off the ship upon completing their initial investigations.
He said 17 foreign specialists are included in the international salvage team hired by the company owning MT New Diamond
He said the ship is currently placed about 40-41 nautical miles away from the land after being towed by a heavy tug.
A second oil leak that took place this morning is currently being dissolved using chemicals that were dropped by Dornier aircraft of the Indian Coast Guard.
Captain Silva also said that they learned after checking the technical data in the ship that there was no possibility for a leak in the crude oil reserve in the ship.
He also said a combined diving mission which was planned by the divers of the Indian Coast guard and Sri Lanka navy was called off following the rough sea conditions experienced in the sea area. (Colombo/Sept9/2020)
Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe