AG indicts ‘MT New Diamond’ vessel’s captain on two charges

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AG indicts ‘MT New Diamond’ vessel’s captain on two charges

Friday, October 9, 2020 Dilshan Tharaka

The Daily News, Sri Lanka

Attorney General Dappula De Livera

Attorney General Dappula De Livera filed an indictment in the Colombo High Court against the crude oil tanker ‘MT New Diamond’ vessel’s captain over the incident.

Attorney General’s Coordinating Officer State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne told news media that the indictment was filed comprising two charges for marine pollution caused by the oil spill from the vessel and the failure to report in violation of section 26 and 38 of the Marine Pollution Prevention Act. No 35 of 2008.

According to these sections of the Act, if a person found guilty for an offence, the suspect will be liable on conviction to fine not less than four million rupees and not exceeding fifteen million rupees.

The 20 year old MT New Diamond crude oil tanker was transporting 270,000 metric tonnes of crude oil from the port of Mina Al-Ahmadi in Kuwait to the Indian port of Paradip when a fire broke out aboard in the eastern seas of Sri Lankan on September 3.

The vessel was sailing 38 nautical miles off Sangamankanda Point when it caught fire with an explosion in a boiler in the ship’s main engine room.

A joint effort by the Sri Lankan Navy, Air Force and Indian Navy succeeded in extinguishing the fire.

Following that, the Marine environment Protection Authority (MEPA) had sought the Attorney General’s advice on taking legal action under the Marine Pollution Prevention Act in connection with the marine pollution caused by the oil spill from the vessel.

The Marine Environment Protection Authority was informed by the Attorney General to go to the location of the vessel and investigate whether the oil spill from the vessel had caused marine pollution in the area.

According to the evidence and observations submitted by the MEPA, the Attorney General maintains that it was clear that the oil spill was from the vessel. Previously, the owners of the ‘MT New Diamond’ vessel had paid in total payment of Rs. 442 million in compensation to Sri Lanka Authorities as the cost incurred by government stakeholders in extinguishing the fire that broke out on the vessel.

However, negotiations with the owners of the vessel pertaining to claims regarding marine pollution caused by the vessel are pending.

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