Sinking Greek Ship Poses A Threat To Colombo Coastline
By Indika Sri Aravinda
The coastal area between Colombo and Kalutara faces an imminent danger to its environs with the possibility of an arrested Greek vessel sinking with over 1,000 litres of chemicals and 275 tons of fuel on board.
The ship is expected to sink by Monday and the chemicals and fuel in the ship could not only pollute the sea but also affect the entire coastline,” said S. A. L. Munasinghe, an engineer who had been employed in the ship.
The 24,000 ton vessel belonging to the Tafaco Shipping Company of Greece was arrested in 2007 due to a dispute with the cargo operator.
“The ship could sink in a day or two,” said Munasinghe and added the ship at present is anchored off 7 to 8 kilometers off Moratuwa – Angulana area. It is carrying 24,000 tons of steel.
At present the dues for provisions for the crew, fuel, port charges, etc. amount to over Rs. 220 million.
S. A. L Munasinghe says the engine room is already six feet under water and the ship will sink within the next few days and a major catastrophe will take place.
“If urgent steps are not taken in the next couple of days there is no way to avoid an environmental catastrophe from taking place,” Munasinghe said.
“I got involved when this ship was off Pandura in my electorate of Kalutara District. Now that the ship is off Colombo district you could ask the Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa about this,” said Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne.
The environment minister was not available for comment at the time the paper going to print. Marshal Ajith Seneviratne of the Central Freight Bureau says he cannot intervene but the lawyer appearing on behalf of the shipping company will have to take full responsibility if the ship sinks.