MT New Diamond not allowed to leave Sri Lankan waters

The MT New Diamond oil tanker has not been allowed to leave Sri Lankan waters, the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) said.

MEPA has informed Attorney General Dapula de Livera that MT New Diamond will be permitted to leave only after ongoing negotiations over oil pollution are completed.

State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne said that the AG had informed MEPA that negotiations pertaining to claims for marine pollution caused by MT New Diamond are pending and other claims have not been settled.

Owners of the oil tanker, MT New Diamond, had earlier agreed to settle the full claim of Rs 442 Million made by Sri Lanka.

Lawyers representing the ship owners had communicated the agreement to the Attorney General.

Initially the owners had agreed to settle the interim claim of Government stakeholders for over Rs. 300 million.

Subsequently a further claim was put forward by the Attorney General and the owners agreed to settle it in full.

The Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air Force, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard worked together to control the fire that erupted after an explosion of a boiler in the main engine room of MT New Diamond, while sailing 38 nautical miles off Sangamankanda Point east of Sri Lankan seas on 3rd September.

Meanwhile, a panel of scientists appointed by MEPA submitted an interim report to the Attorney General and confirmed there was marine pollution as a result of the oil leak from MT New Diamond.

The Colombo Magistrate’s Court had also imposed a travel ban on the captain of the MT New Diamond oil tanker. (Colombo Gazette)