Sri Lanka works to clean oil slicks near capital

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka deployed hundreds of coast guard and navy personnel yesterday to clean oil slicks on a coastal stretch near the capital following a spill caused by a pipeline leak.

Spokesman for the government’s Marine Environment Protection Authority Saumya Ekanayake said the leak occurred Saturday night in a pipeline carrying oil from tankers to a storage facility on the land, releasing about 25 tonnes of furnace oil. The leak occurred off Uswetakeiyawa, a coastal town about 14 kilometres north of Colombo.

The leak caused oil slicks in a coastal stretch of about two kilometres, Ekanayake said.

About 300 navy and coast guard personnel were deployed to clean the area.

Ekanayake said the leak had stopped, but that it would take two or three more days to complete the cleaning task.

He said the authority was investigating the incident.

Sri Lankan army soldiers remove oil slick and sand from a beach following an oil spill in Uswetakeiyawa, a coastal town north of Colombo. – AP