Sri Lanka has sought an initial compensation of Rs 340 million from the MT New Diamond oil tanker. Attorney General Dappula De Livera presented the request for compensation to the lawyers representing the owners of the ship.

The AG’s Coordinating Officer, State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne, said that the compensation was sought to cover the cost incurred by Sri Lanka authorities during rescue operations.    

Sri Lanka Navy (SLN), Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF), Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), Colombo Dockyard PLC (CDPLC), Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) and the Department of Coast Conservation have been engaged, to extinguish the fire onboard the oil tanker, and other related matters.

She said the initial compensation of Rs 340 million was based on the estimated cost incurred by Sri Lanka as of Tuesday (15).

Jayaratne said that the total cost, including the cost of the damage caused to the environment, will differ once the ship is moved completely out of Sri Lankan waters.

Meanwhile, she also said that the Attorney General had instructed the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to file a report in court against the captain of the ship.

The Attorney General was of the opinion that there was sufficient evidence to file charges against the captain of the ship.

The Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air Force, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard had been working together to control the fire that erupted after an explosion of a boiler in the main engine room of MT New Diamond, an oil tanker sailing 38 nautical miles off Sangamankanda Point east of Sri Lankan seas on September 03.

A missing crew member on the ship had been reported dead while 21 crew members of the distressed oil tanker were taken aboard Sri Lanka Navy ships and were safely isolated adhering to health guidelines.

One crew member who sustained injuries in the explosion was admitted to hospital.

The Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) said a team of experts is preparing estimates on the damage caused to the Sri Lankan marine environment following the fire which erupted aboard the MT New Diamond Crude Oil Tanker.

Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) Chairperson Darshani Lahandapura said on Thursday (17) the incident had affected marine life in Sri Lankan waters.

Laboratory tests proved there was an oil leak into the ocean, in addition to observation reports, said the MEPA chief adding the team of experts reported the area in which the incident took place is home to turtles, Manta Rays as well as Dolphins.

“Preparing the Environment Impact Assessment report is a complex task,” said Darshani Lahandapura noting dead marine life could possibly reach the shores of other nations.

The Government Analyst’s Department report confirmed the oil which leaked to the ocean was the fuel used by the Crude Oil Tanker to operate its engines.

Darshani Lahandapura said reports of other oil and fuel samples obtained from the sea area and from the distressed Crude Oil Tanker are to be received.


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