MRCC permits ‘MT New Diamond’ to leave Sri Lankan waters
Posted on October 2nd, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Colombo has granted permission to the owners of the fire-stricken crude oil tanker ‘MT New Diamond’ to tow the vessel away from Sri Lankan maritime border.

Permission has been given subject to the payment of compensation and cost incurred by the Government agencies.

The Spokesperson of Sri Lanka Navy, Captain Indika De Silva said the owners of ‘MT New Diamond’ are already in the process of towing the vessel away from Sri Lankan waters.

It is likely to sail towards the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where its oil cargo would be transferred to another ship for further supplies to Indian Oil Corp.

Two navy ships are shadowing the tanker until it leaves Sri Lanka’s 200 -mile exclusive economic zone,” Captain De Silva added.

At around 8.30 am on September 03, the oil tanker ‘MT New Diamond’, sailing 38 nautical miles off Sangamankanda Point east of Sri Lankan seas, was engulfed by fire following an explosion of a boiler in the main engine room.

The tanker was transporting 270,000 metric tons of crude oil from the port of Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait to the Indian port of Paradip when it faced with this unfortunate turn of events. It was also reported that 1,700 metric tons of diesel required for the use of the tanker were stored onboard.

The vessel was subsequently towed to safe waters and the Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air Force, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Sri Lanka Coast Guard, Indian Defence Forces and the Indian Coast Guard had doused the fire in a joint operation.

Owners and the salvors of the ill-fated crude oil tanker had later agreed to immediately and fully settle the government’s claim Rs 442 million for the costs incurred by the Sri Lankan government in the assistance rendered to the ship and other related matters.

The Attorney General’s Department on Thursday (01) announced that the negotiation pertaining to claim regarding marine pollution caused by the oil tanker are pending and that the other claims are yet to be settled by its owners.

The Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) had meanwhile said that approval cannot be granted to the crude oil tanker to leave Sri Lankan waters until the negotiations conclude.

-with inputs from agencies

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