Greek master cops $65,000 fine over New Diamond blaze

The Greek master of the badly burnt New Diamond VLCC was fined $65,000 at Colombo’s High Court yesterday.

The captain, Sterio Ilias, pled guilty to two charges regarding the oil spill caused by the fire onboard the ship last month that killed one seafarer and the failure to report the fire in violation of Sections 26 and 38 of the country’s Marine Environment Pollution Authority (MEPA) Act. On paying the fine, the captain is allowed to leave the country.

The laden 20-year-old ship tanker suffered a boiler explosion in its engine room while east of Sri Lanka, sparking a large salvage operation to douse the ship. The vessel is now under tow to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates where its cargo will be discharged and the charred vessel will be assessed for repairs.

The ship’s owner, New Shipping, has already paid Sri Lankan authorities a fine for the accident.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. The article is lacking in not indicating specifically what the Master did or did not do to attract such a large fine. I hope the owners paid the fine for him, since he was at the time their servant. If Masters continue to be treated as criminals and fined accordingly, l can see few prospective Masters willing to subject themselves to this danger, without a written promise of indemnity from the owners. I would certainly hesitate to put myself in a position where l can be fined by any jurisdiction that feels inclined to do so. Without indemnity l can see a marked reluctance on the part of Chief Officers to move up to Command level. Is this by chance covered by P& I Club cover?

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