A small fleet of Indian and Sri Lankan Naval and Coastguard vessels are husbanding the stricken Supertanker MT New Diamond as tugs continue to spray water. The Sri Lanka Airforce was deployed to drop retardants into the fire as well
ECONOMYNEXT – No oil leaks have been detected so far from the MT New Diamond supertanker which caught fire last week in the seas off eastern Sri Lanka, an official said.
Deputy General Manager of the country’s Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) Jagath Gunesekara told EconomyNext, however, that Sri Lanka will continue to pursue legal action against the tanker’s owners.
Sri Lanka’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) are carrying out investigations into the incident and statements from the ship’s crew are currently being recoded, he said.
“Our attorneys are on the case as well,” he added.
Gunesekara said the next step can be decided only after the next court hearing on September 29.
MEPA is also conducting its own investigation to determine the impact on marine life from the bunker oil that has reportedly leaked to the sea from the engine room of the ship.
“We took more samples yesterday from the engine room and we are still testing it,” Gunesekara said.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Navy Spokesman Captain Indika Silva said the ship is now 70 nautical miles from the shore.
“We think with the strong current in the deep sea the ship is moving away from Sri Lanka. Yesterday it was much further away from the island so the boats had brought it within 70 nautical miles from the shore,” Silva said.
Silva said per the last report all holes on the tanker that were suspected to cause the bunker oil leakage have been sealed and the salvage company is continuing the operations to ensure the safety of the ship.
“Divers along with the salvage company ships are still conducting their operations. There are no navy divers involved; all divers working on this are commercial divers assigned by the salvage company,” he said.
Captain Silva added that the patch of oil from bunker oil leak has also dissolved as per the latest routine check by the Sri Lankan Airforce.
The Indian Coastguard had deployed a Dornier aircraft on September 08 to dump dispersant on the oil patch. (Colombo/Sep16/2020)