- The captain of the ill-fated MT New Diamond Crude Oil Tanker was fined Rs. 12 Million by Colombo High Court Judge Dhammika Ganepola.
- Sterio Ilias who appeared in court via a motion, had the two indictments read out to him at the High Court and pleaded guilty to both indictments from the dock.
- The Colombo High Court found the New Diamond skipper guilty of both indictments filed by the Attorney General and imposed the fine.
- Court ordered for the New Diamond skipper to be released after making the payment of the fine.
The captain of a fire-damaged supertanker that leaked fuel off the coast of Sri Lanka has been fined 12 million rupees ($65,000) for causing the spill and failing to inform officials of the environmental damage, reports Siliconeer.
Fire onboard MT New Diamond
The Panamanian-registered New Diamond, travelling from Kuwait to India with 270,000 tonnes of crude oil, was passing by Sri Lanka’s east coast when the fire broke out at the start of September.
Firefighters succeeded in putting out the blaze, and the crude remained unaffected but some of the tanker’s fuel leaked.
The blaze started after an engine room boiler exploded, killing one crew member. The remaining crew of 22, including the skipper, were rescued and are currently in Sri Lanka.
The captain, Steiros Ilias Kardany, pleaded guilty to the two counts and was ordered to pay 12 million rupees.
Charges of oil spills
The Chairman of the Marine Environment Protection Agency (MEPA) said carcasses of at least four porpoises and a dozen turtles had washed ashore in the eastern and southern areas of the island after the spill.
“We have taken tissue samples and sent for analysis,” Dharshani Lahandapura told AFP. “We suspect that these sea mammals died as a result of the oil spill from the tanker.”
State prosecutors told the Colombo High Court Wednesday that about 400 to 480 tonnes of fuel had leaked, causing a spill that stretched 40 kilometres (25 miles).
The vessel was towed to the United Arab Emirates after the owners paid Sri Lanka $2.38 million for putting out the fire. The court ordered that he could leave the island after paying the fine.
The ship is currently in the seas 70 nautical miles east of Batticaloa in the east and 129km away from the Batticaloa coast.
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