Govt denies oil slick news by an int’l media
By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan
The Government yesterday (10) denied the news, aired by Sky News, that revealed a satellite image showing a large oil slick surrounding the wrecked X-Press Pearl.
The international news agency on 7 June showed images of an oil slick stretching about 100 meters. State Minister of Coast Conservation, Dr. Nalaka Godahewa denied the news saying that he had visited the site accompanied by the Harbour Master of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and the MEPA Chairperson.
“We observed that a Diesel-like minor oil patch was present on the water surface. However, it was not an oil spill from the vessel,” he said. He said that they had informed the Sri Lanka Navy and inquired into the reports about an oil slick.
The said there are five ships at anchor, one belonged to Sri Lanka Navy and others belonged to the Indian Coast Guard, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and one owned by the Salvors who have come on the mission to attend to the wrecked ship.
Meanwhile, Navy Commander Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne was received by the Captains of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) vessels which were deployed in Operation Sagar Araksha II as they arrived at Colombo Port for Operational Turn Around on 10 June 2021. He acknowledged the huge support provided by these vessels and specially thanked India for its prompt response to the incident involving the MV X-Press Pearl.
The Captains briefed the Commander about their role in the Operation, particularly about Samudra Prahari, which is a specialised pollution response vessel.
High Commissioner of India Gopal Baglay, at the event, pointed out that it was not merely the geography that bound India and Sri Lanka in the maritime sphere, but the tradition of close cooperation in responding to emergencies such as HADR and accidents at sea as evidenced in Operation Sagar Araksha I and II.
He underlined those bilateral mechanisms to appropriately respond to emergency situations in the shared maritime space is the need of the hour. He also highlighted that as India and Sri Lanka work jointly towards ensuring safety and security in the shared maritime space, it was important to remain adequately prepared for natural disasters and man-made catastrophes as they could recur.