MT New Diamond allowed to leave Sri Lankan waters

The Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) has allowed the MT New Diamond oil tanker to leave Sri Lankan waters despite the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) saying earlier the ship cannot leave.

MEPA had earlier 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 had said yesterday 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.

However, the Navy said today that the owners of MT New Diamond have begun to tow the ship away from Sri Lankan waters.

The ship with oil is expected to be taken towards the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to transfer the oil to another ship.

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

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)