The Parliament of Sri Lanka has approved the appointment of a Select Committee to investigate matters relating to the damage caused by both the MT New Diamond and X-Press Pearl vessels.
The setting up of the 21-member Parliamentary Select Committee was approved in Parliament today (12 May).
Accordingly, the committee will be tasked with investigating and making suitable recommendations relating to the disasters caused by both international vessels which were gutted in separate fires within Sri Lanka’s territorial waters.
On September 03, 2020, the MT New Diamond was engulfed in flames about 65km off the Sangamankanda Point on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka.
An explosion of a boiler in the main engine room had led to this unfortunate turn of events, which resulted in the death of one crew member and a major oil spill.
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 at the time of the incident. It was also reported that 1,700 metric tons of diesel required for the use of the tanker were stored onboard.
On May 20, 2021, Sri Lanka witnessed what is considered one of the worst marine environmental disasters after the Singapore-flagged container ship vessel MV X-Press Pearl, only three months after being commissioned, caught fire some 16km off Colombo.
At the time of the incident, it was transporting at least 1,500 containers including 25 tonnes of nitric acid, other chemicals and low-density polyethylene pellets.
The fire that raged for nearly two weeks resulted in a massive spillage of damaged containers, microplastics, plastic pellets, chemicals and other harmful substances into the sea before the wreckage of the vessel sank on June 02, 2021 while being towed away to deeper waters.
It was revealed that the fire had been the result of a reaction of the chemicals being transported on the ship, from which 25 crew members were evacuated safely.