Sri Lanka is an island situated on main international sea lanes and a large number of vessels/ships pass Sri Lanka. The seas around Sri Lanka are highly vulnerable to oil spills, as 25 percent of the world’s oil transportation, which amounts to 550 million tons per annum, passes via Sri Lanka’s Exclusive Economic Zone, said security advisor to the embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka Cap. R.M.K.U.B.I Rathnayake.
“In the event of a major oil spill disaster Sri Lanka has to get assistance from India to arrest such a situation because we have no sophisticated equipment. Therefore,the Japanese government through its embassy in Colombo donated seven containers of oil mopping equipment to Sri Lanka to face such challenges.
The Sri Lanka Coast Guard as a stakeholder in protecting the coastal belt of Sri Lanka and preventing and minimizing marine pollution, will take the opportunity to launch a training programme for its cadres with the assistance of Japanese marine environment protection and oil spill measures experts, Rathnayake said.
According to Rathnayake, the Defense Attaché to the Japanese embassy in Colombo, Cap. M Shigekawa along with the Director General Coast Guard Rear Admiral S. Wimalatunga will launch training in January 2016 in the Mirissa coastal area. At present, Marine Pollution Prevention Bureau, Coast Conservation Department and Ports Authority are the main organizations that protect the coastal area of the country and all organizations do not have oil mopping equipment in the event of a major oil spill, he said.
The marine environment is a part of Sri Lanka’s rich eco system. In the event of such a major oil spill, it would affect international trade because ships could not enter our ports when an oil spill prevails, Cap. Rahnayake said. He continued to say that an oil spill pose serious threats to fresh water and marine environments, affecting surface resources and a wide range of subsurface organisms that are linked in a complex food chain that includes human food resources.