Ship with load of rejected petrol ‘awaiting clearance’ to set sail

The motor tanker ‘Torm Astrid’, which transported the rejected consignment of fuel for the Indian Oil Company (IOC) still remains anchored in Trincomalee’s outer harbor ostensibly awaiting clearance to sail to the next port of call.

There were ‘crew changes’ and replenishment of food and water, but the vessel, which arrived in the Trincomalee harbor from Singapore with a consignment of petrol, is still awaiting the green light to head for its next destination, senior port officials said.

With a load of substandard fuel, there is no indication so far where the motor tanker will set sail to, though it is clear that its next destination still remains hazy, many days after its load was turned down due to the presence of sediment, a Trincomalee-based ports senior official said.Another vessel, MT ‘Unique Developer’, which arrived to filter the 40,000 metric tonnes of fuel also remains in anchor in the Trincomalee outer harbor after the ship-to-ship ‘filtration plans’ collapsed when the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) declined the offer.

“Both vessels continue to pay port charges for anchorage, with no immediate word on their next destination”, the official noted. “We don’t know whether there are charter issues”.

Meanwhile, the scarcity of petrol has eased to a great extent, with a senior CPC official saying that complete normalcy in supplies will be restored by Monday.

“There may exist some pockets where fuel is still not available, but with around-the-clock distribution, the situation should return to normal within the next 24 hours”, assured Chrisantha Wickremasinghe, DGM (Marketing).

“We will be working on Sunday as well to ensure the smooth continuity of supplies”, he said.

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