Oil removed from abandoned vessel to prevent pollutionAugust 6, 2012, 10:03 pm
By Maheesha Mudugamuwa
The removal of furnace oil from a dilapidated and listing foreign ship, MV Thermopylae Sierra, anchored off the Panadura coast since 2009, had been completed and the ship was ready to be moved to Trincomalee, Director General of Merchant Shipping Ajith Senevirathne said yesterday (06).
He said that more than 300 tonnes of oil was removed from the ship to prevent any environmental harm as the condition of the ship had deteriorated. The vessel should move away from the exclusive economic zone measured as 200 nautical miles from the shoreline.
Marine Environmental Protection Authority (MEPA) senior officials confirmed the serious dangers posed by the ship which was likely to sink.
According to the MEPA the fragile marine ecosystem, coastal beaches, the fishing community and those living near the beaches would all be adversely affected. If the ship was subjected to any disaster, the harm to marine life would be immeasurable. As reported, the weight of the items in the ship was 15,612 tonnes. In addition, there was about 280 tonnes of furnace oil in it.
According to Seneviratne, the ship had been handed over to a private company to be moved to a safer place. The ship would be anchored at Trincomalee where rough seas were not experienced during the monsoon.
The ship is 155 metres in length and 127 metres wide. It was manufactured in 1985. The vessel belongs to the Cyprus government.
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