(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –A Sri Lankan court today fined the Greek captain of the fire-stricken MT New Diamond supertanker Rs. 12 million US$ 65,000) after he pleaded guilty to the charges.
Colombo High Court Judge Dhammika Ganepola ordered the defendant Steiros Ilas Kardany be released after paying the fine.
The Attorney General had indicted the Captain in the Colombo High Court on charges of failing to douse the fire that engulfed the New Diamond ship off the coast of Sri Lanka on September 3 and committing maritime pollution.
The case was taken up before Colombo High Court Judge Dhammika Ganepola today on a motion filed by the defendants. The Defendant pleaded guilty to the charges after he was handed over the indictments.
Although the Deputy Solicitor General appearing for the Attorney General had requested the court to issue an order to the defendant to pay compensation in this case, the judge stated that the order would not be granted as both parties may be prejudiced if a compensation is imposed at this time.
The Panamanian flagged tanker was carrying 270,000 tonnes of crude and 1,700 tonnes of diesel to Paradip port in India from the port of Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait when the fire erupted in the engine room on September 03 in the deep sea about 38 nautical miles off Sangamankanda Point in Sri Lanka.
One member of the ship’s crew was killed and another seriously injured crew member was rescued by the Sri Lanka Navy. Another 03 Greek and 16 Philippine crew members of the tanker were rescued by another merchant vessel plying nearby and safely brought ashore by the Navy.
Sri Lanka and Indian security forces battling the fire for six days extinguished the blaze before it could reach the stored crude preventing a catastrophe in the marine environment.