A ship carrying 20 to 30 tonnes of fuel and anchored in the sea off Panadura for the past four years because of legal disputes appears to be almost fully under water, Merchant Shipping Director General Ajith Senaviratne said.
SS ‘Thermopylae Sierra’ was owned by a Greek Shipping Line. It was anchored off Panadura on a Colombo High Court order. The fuel poses an environmental threat to the Colombo coastline.
“Most of the fuel was removed. But because the vessel was submerged in the sea, it was difficult to extract the remaining fuel,” he said adding that no maintenance had been carried out.
“The ship had begun to sink because its hull and deck were perishing. This was caused by the lack of maintenance,” he said.
Disaster Management officials said they had already secured the Kalutara, Gampaha, Colombo coastal belt up to Puttlam against a possible fuel leak. Officials said all ground level operations were being carried out and would be a coordinated by the three forces. (Nishan Casseem) (Pix by M.S. Perera)