Sri Lanka braces for oil slick

Aug 24, 2012
An oil slick stains a New Zealand beach in 2011. Sri Lanka mobilised 500 volunteers on Friday to prepare for an oil slick heading towards its coast after a cargo vessel sank off-shore due to bad weather, a disaster official said.

Sri Lanka mobilised 500 volunteers on Friday to prepare for an oil slick heading towards its coast after a cargo vessel sank off-shore due to bad weather, a disaster official said.

The rusting 15,000-tonne Thmothrmopolyseara, a Cyprus flag carrier, took in water and went down late Thursday after remaining in anchorage for over three years following a dispute over its cargo of steel, local officials said.

"Much of the furnace oil in the ship had been pumped out, but we were told about 70 tonnes of fuel remained in its tanks and that is causing a slick," Disaster Management Centre director Sarath Kumara told AFP.

He said the slick measuring about 10 kilometres (six miles) long was about 20 kilometres (12 miles) off Sri Lanka's western coast, but could get washed ashore due to heavy monsoon weather.

"We have arranged small units of volunteers to clean up a coastal stretch of over 50 kilometres," Kumara said. "We have not experienced anything like this before."

The coast line from Mount Lavinia, a popular tourist resort just south of the capital Colombo, and Negombo, the first beach resort opened for tourism in the early 1970's, was at risk, the DMC said.

The foreign vessel had been detained by Sri Lankan courts following litigation over the cargo of steel valued at over $300 million, according to local media reports. It was not immediately clear who owned the vessel.

's merchant shipping authority director Ajith Seneviratne said they were ready to tow the ship away to a salvage yard in the island's east, but were prevented by a court order against the removal.

"We knew that the ship could go down as the monsoon intensifies and we had pumped out most of the 600 tonnes of furnace it carried, but there was a residue that we could not pump out," Seneviratne said.

Explore further: German scientist starts four-week swim down Rhine river

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Oil slick hits N.Z. coast as storm threatens ship

Oct 10, 2011

Oil from a stranded container ship began washing up on the shore of New Zealand's Bay of Plenty Monday, as salvage crews battened down the crippled vessel in the face of a looming storm.

More oil spills from stricken New Zealand ship

Oct 18, 2011

Fresh oil leaked from a container ship stuck on a New Zealand reef Tuesday, as bad weather halted both salvage work on the vessel and a massive pollution clean up on the coast.

Most oil emptied from stricken New Zealand ship

Nov 14, 2011

Salvage crews have pumped almost all the oil from a container ship that ran aground on a New Zealand reef and caused the country's worst maritime pollution disaster, authorities said Monday.

Recommended for you

Malaysia air quality 'unhealthy' as haze obscures skies

1 hour ago

Air quality around Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur and on Borneo island was "unhealthy" on Tuesday, with one town reaching "very unhealthy" levels as haze—mostly from forest fires in Indonesia—obscured skies.

Worldwide water shortage by 2040

1 hour ago

Two new reports that focus on the global electricity water nexus have just been published. Three years of research show that by the year 2040 there will not be enough water in the world to quench the thirst of the world population ...

Regulations only a first step in cutting emissions

3 hours ago

Intensifying calls for action on climate change have led to a variety of proposed regulations to cut greenhouse gas emissions from specific sources of the economy, including, most recently, the environmental ...

User comments : 0