New Diamond blaze caused air, sea pollution – MEPA report
By Leon Berenger
The Maritime Environmental Protection Authority (MEPA) that carried out a study on the fallout of the MT New Diamond fire has confirmed in a report handed over to the authorities earlier this week that air and sea pollution had taken place, a senior most official said on 25 September.
“We are in the early stages of collecting more data on the adverse impact that was caused to the environment before the damages could be assessed in monetary terms. We hope to complete the estimated damages in the following report that will be ready by next week,” MEPA General Manager, Dr. Terny. P. Kumara said.
He added that more and more samples are being collected from the area the ship was crippled and a more detailed report will be completed within this period, adding that only following this could we reach compensation payments in financial terms.
The team of experts deployed for the research is currently divided in opinion on several issues and it will take a few days before a consensus could be reached, Dr. Kumara added.
Maritime officials on 25 September said that oil deposits discovered near the stricken ship was perhaps flushed out from the engine room after rescue vessels poured tons of water onto the ship to douse the fire.
The Panama-flagged MT New Diamond 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 the fire broke out in the vessel’s engine room on 3 September, some nautical miles off the country’s East Coast.
The fire is believed to have sparked-off following the explosion of a boiler and initial investigations have not ruled out negligence on the part of the crew.
The CID has already recorded a statement from the vessel’s Greek Captain who is due to appear in Court shortly. The vessel has been towed away further into the deep seas and is currently some 70 nautical miles away from the country’s maritime borders.