Damning details pertaining to the salvage operations of MT New Diamond which had caught fire in Sri Lankan territorial waters have surfaced along with the compensation claim of over US$ 400 million by local authorities.
Sri Lanka is likely to lose the opportunity of claiming one-fourth the value of the MT New Diamond and one-fourth the crude oil on board (67,500 metric tonnes) due to an oversight by Sri Lanka’s maritime authorities, informed sources said.
This was the result of the maritime authorities allowing the ship to be towed out of Sri Lanka’s maritime borders into international waters in the rush to prevent an oil spill close to Sri Lanka.
The cost of disaster management and firefighting by the Sri Lanka Air Force and Sri Lanka Navy can be claimed through insurance from New Shipping Ltd., the commercial owner of MT New Diamond in Athens, Greece.
This Panama-flagged oil supertanker that had an explosion off the coast of Sri Lanka recently is being helped by a controversial support vessel that led the operation to deliberately sink a large, Japanese iron ore vessel Wakashio in the coastal waters of Mauritius last month, international media reports revealed.
Satellite analysis by a global maritime analytics firm Windward has revealed that the Malta-flagged fire-ship, Boka Expedition, sailed from the scene of the controversial scuttling of the Wakashio on August 24.
This vessel towed and dumped the 300 meter long broken hull in Mauritian waters during salvage operations creating water pollution issues.
This event sparked national protests in Mauritius and outside its embassies around the world.
Photos taken by the Mauritian Coastguard were shared but the location of the sinking was never disclosed.
Within days, a second vessel sank in Mauritian waters, the Sir Gaetan Duval, with the loss of four crew members on 31 August.
Satellite analysis from Windward reveals that the Boka Expedition was also involved in the search and rescue operation there too.
Five days later, the Boka Expedition then sailed straight to the MT New Diamond that was on fire for several days off the coast of Sri Lanka to be involved in the salvage mission.
International environmental conservation organisations expressed their dismay at allowing the Boka Expedition to carry out the rescue operations.