MEPA preparing estimates on marine environment damage caused by MT New Diamond


The Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) said a team of experts is preparing estimates on the damage caused to the Sri Lankan marine environment following the fire which erupted aboard the MT New Diamond Crude Oil Tanker.

Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) Chairperson Darshani Lahandapura said on Thursday (17) the incident had affected marine life in Sri Lankan waters.

Laboratory tests proved there was an oil leak into the ocean, in addition to observation reports, said the MEPA Chief adding the team of experts reported the area in which the incident took place is home to turtles, Manta Rays as well as Dolphins.

“Preparing the Environment Impact Assessment report is a complex task,” said Darshani Lahandapura noting dead marine life could possibly reach the shores of other nations.

The Government Analyst’s Department report confirmed the oil which leaked to the ocean was the fuel used by the Crude Oil Tanker to operate its engines.

Darshani Lahandapura said reports of other oil & fuel samples obtained from the sea area and from the distressed Crude Oil Tanker are to be received.

Attorney General Dappula De Livera submitted an interim claim of Rs. 340 Million to the counsel representing the owners of the distressed MT New Diamond Crude Oil Tanker on Wednesday (16th September).

State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne, the Coordinating Officer to the Attorney General speaking to media said documented claim for costs incurred by the Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air Force, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Colombo Dockyard PLC, Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) & Coast Conservation Department in providing assistance to douse and contain the fire as well as for related matters, was thus submitted to the MT New Diamond lawyers.

The sum of Rs. 340 Million was estimated as the expenses incurred until the 15th of September, said State Counsel Jayaratne.

Further, the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) is yet to produce a report on the estimated damage to the Sri Lankan marine environment caused by the oil leak from MT New Diamond.

Following that report being produced, the Attorney General hopes to make a claim for the total cost incurred by all stakeholders in providing assistance to douse and contain the fire.

The Attorney General had stressed that the report cannot be finalized until the distressed MT New Diamond Crude Oil Tanker leaves Sri Lankan waters.

The MT New Diamond crude oil tanker was transporting 270,000 metric tons of crude oil from the port of Meena Al Ahmadi in Kuwait to the Port of Paradip in India when a fire broke out aboard in the eastern seas of Sri Lanka on 03rd September 2020 at around 0800 hrs.

The ship 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.

The distressed oil tanker in eastern seas was manned by 23 crew members including 5 Greeks and 18 Philippine nationals.

It was also reported that 1700 metric tons of diesel required for the use of the tanker is also stored onboard.

MT New Diamond is a 20-year old crude oil tanker that is 333 meters long and 60 meters wide, and sailed with a Japanese certificate and is registered in Panama.