Sri Lanka Court Summons Captain of Oil Tanker MT New Diamond That Caught Fire
File photo of MT New Diamond being towed by Tug TTT1, presently over 90km from Sri Lanka coast. (Image: Indian Navy Twitter)
A Sri Lankan court on Thursday issued a notice to the captain of the oil tanker that caught fire off the country's eastern coast to appear before it on September 28. The Colombo chief magistrate court's order comes a day after Attorney General Dappula de Livera staked a claim of USD 1.8 million for the costs incurred on dousing the fire on board the Panama-registered tanker MT New Diamond that went up in flames on September 3.
The Attorney General had also asked the CID to report the facts to the court and obtain notice against the vessel's captain. He was to be charged for committing offenses under the Marine Pollution Environmental Protection Act. The court ordered the captain of the oil tanker to appear before it on September 28.
New Diamond, a Greek-owned vessel and under charter by the Indian Oil Corporation, was carrying 270,000 metric tons of crude oil from Mina Al Ahmadi port in Kuwait to the Indian port of Paradip when a boiler explosion in its engine room caused fire off the coast of Sangamankanda in Ampara district. A Filipino crew member died and another was injured in the mishap. Sri Lanka Navy with the help of Indian counterparts and coast guards doused the fire after great effort.
The ship is currently in the seas 70 nautical miles east of Batticaloa in the east and 129 kilometers away from the Batticaloa coast. Two Sri Lankan naval ships, one Indian naval ship, and 3 Indian coast guard vessels are currently deployed in the operations near the oil tanker.
Some 5 ships of Indian coast guard and one Indian Navy ship engaged in fire fighting, the Sri Lanka Navy said early this month. The tanker had 23 crew members – 18 Filipinos and five Greeks. Twenty-two of the 23 member crew had been safely rescued off the tanker.