zoom A Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier Sparna, fully-loaded with grain, is under observation for pollution after it ran aground in the Columbia River on March 21, according to the US Coast Guard.The 2006-built Sparna is heavily loaded with 218,380 gallons of high sulfur fuel and 39,380 gallons of marine diesel.“The positive news so far is that responders have not observed any oil in the water,” said Capt. Dan Travers, Coast Guard Captain of the Port for the Columbia River.The 623-foot bulker grounded in a narrow part of the river near Cathlamet, Washington, while a river pilot was still onboard.Sparna sustained damages below the waterline, but the authorities decided that it will maintain position and be repaired at the site.Two tugs, the PJ Brix and Pacific Escort, were launched to help stabilize the vessel as it listed to its port side after taking on water in void spaces.There are no reports of injuries due to the grounding, and the authorities launched an investigation into the cause of the incident.According to USCG, the navigable channel of the river has not been closed.World Maritime News Staff
Water shortage has also compounded problems for the energy sector of the country that depends on hydro-power. (Colombo Gazette) “In response to a request from the Government of Sri Lanka for drought relief assistance, Government of India has announced the decision to provide 8 water bowsers and 100 metric tonnes of rice to Sri Lanka. The supply of these items is in the nature of emergency assistance to augment relief measures undertaken in the wake of severe drought faced by Sri Lanka,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told Parliament in a written reply. The lorry-mounted water bowsers were given to the Government of Sri Lanka on March 21. “India has always been among the first to respond to requests from the neighbouring countries in times of crisis. The current gifting of the water bowsers and rice is part of that policy,” Swaraj added. With Sri Lanka staring at one of the worst droughts in the last four decades, India has provided an emergency assistance of water and rice to the Island country, The New Indian Express reported.The Government has already handed over eight water bowsers to the Sri Lankan authorities and the consignment of rice would be delivered soon. Sri Lanka is suffering from the worst drought in 40 years with over a million people facing acute water shortages. The Island country has experienced prolonged dry season with some districts having 60-70 percent less rainfall. The local wells and reservoirs are running dry.The harvest of rice is going to be hit due to water shortage and the prospect of rice shortage later this year is looming large. The Sri Lankan Government has also taken slew of measures to contain the fallout of the rice shortage. It has already waived off taxes on rice imports and is expected to increase rice imports to meet the demand at home.