The captain of the ill-fated MT New Diamond Crude Oil Tanker was fined Rs. 12 Million by Colombo High Court Judge Dhammika Ganepola on Wednesday (14).
Sterio Ilias who appeared in court via a motion, had the two indictments read out to him at the High Court and pleaded guilty to both indictments from the dock.
Accordingly, the Colombo High Court found the New Diamond skipper guilty of both indictments filed by the Attorney General and imposed the fine.
Court ordered for the New Diamond skipper to be released after making the payment of the fine.
Announcing the verdict, the Colombo High Court Judge noted the court focused on the accused voluntarily appearing in court and pleading guilty to the charges at the very first occasion without wasting the time of the court.
Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Peiris appearing for the Attorney General said the fire aboard the MT New Diamond was caused due to the negligence of its skipper and over-heating of equipment due to the excessive speed of the crude oil tanker.
He said the accused had neglected his duties in failing to contain the fire aboard the MT New Diamond.
The Deputy Solicitor General further said the actions of the New Diamond skipper resulted in around 500 MT of fuel leaking in to the seas of the Sri Lankan Exclusive Economic Zone.
It would take another 10 to 15 years to restore the sea area from the damages caused, he said citing expert reports.
The Deputy Solicitor General said a revenue of Rs. 50 Million was lost as Sri Lankan fishermen were unable to enter the respective sea area for three consecutive days due to the fire aboard the MT New Diamond and requested court to consider the fact and issue an order for compensation.
However, the Colombo High Court Judge said the matter taken up in court was to impose a sentence for the indictments filed against the suspect and if an order is made for compensation as requested by the prosecution, it would result in an issue for both parties in legal proceedings filed against the destruction caused to the marine environment.
Therefore, the Colombo High Court did not issue an order with regard to compensation.
(Source: News 1st)