October 23, 2020
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    PM instructs several institutions to act to avert environmental disaster

    September 04, 2020

     Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Minister of Urban Development and Housing has issued instructions to the Coast Conservation Department to take all possible steps to avert an environmental disaster that could happen due to the raging fire onboard the ill-fated oil tanker NT-New Diamond, according to the Urban Development and Housing Ministry Secretary Sirinimal Perera.

    He said that the Prime Minister had contacted the ministry officials on Thursday night and instructed them at length on measures that need to be taken. “The Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) is coordinating efforts with other institutions to avert an environmental disaster based on the instructions issued by President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.”

    The distressed oil tanker in eastern seas has been manned by 23 crew members including 05 Greek and 18 Philippine nationals and is registered under the Panamanian. The “MT New Diamond”, was sailing 38 nautical miles off Sangamankanda Point east of Sri Lanka.

    Further, the tanker was transporting 270,000 metric tons of crude oil from the port of Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait to the Indian port of Paradip, when it faced problems. It is also reported that 1700 metric tons of diesel required for the use of the tanker have been stored onboard.

    Currently, around 15 institutions including the MEPA which is under the purview of the Urban Development Authority, Coast Guard Department, Sri Lanka Navy, Air Force, Port Authority, Environmental Authority, Fisheries Department, Disaster Management Department, Met Department, Wildlife Department and Petroleum Corporation are jointly engaged in coordinating efforts to handle this situation.


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