Probe into Colombo Port  oil spill slow

By Lal Gunesekera

Controversy surrounds the delay on the part of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) to conclude an inquiry into an oil spill caused by bunker vessel Chahad, which discharged about five tons of heavy fuel oil (HFO) into the sea on Nov. 13.

Sources told The Island that if a similar incident had occurred in any other country, a heavy fine would have been imposed on the culprits following a swift inquiry, though the SLPA was yet to complete its investigation in spite of calls from environmentalist to expedite the probe.

Due to heavy rains the HFO had moved to the sea and affected marine life, environmentalists said.

Senior Manager of Public Relations and Communications of SLPA Ms. Kumari Jayasundera told The Island that the Marine Pollution Prevention Authority (MPPA) was responsible for cleaning up the oil spill.

General Manager of the MPPA Rear Admiral (RTD) S. R. Samaratunga said the oil spill had occurred within the port premises which came under the purview of the SLPA. He said pollution had been tackled and the SLPA given instructions to ascertain ‘what and where it had gone wrong’.

Director of Merchant Shipping Shantha Weerakoon was not available for comment.

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