Oil tanker fire in Sri Lanka’s rich waters highlights need for preparedness

Authorities in Sri Lanka are seeking millions of dollars in damages after a weeklong firefighting operation to put out a blaze on board an oil tanker in its waters.

Some of the fuel oil from the MT New Diamond leaked into the sea but was quickly contained, and none of the 270,000 tonnes of its crude oil cargo leaked or caught fire, averting what could have been a major environmental disaster.

With the ship now stabilized and awaiting permission to dock at an available port to offload the crude, Sri Lankan authorities have filed charges against the captain and a claim for $2.4 million from the ship’s owners for the firefighting and pollution prevention efforts.

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