No separate security for private fuel tanker operators

  • Police security to be provided only when necessary as no separate officers available for deployment 
  • IGP rejects request by Private Tanker Owners’ Association   

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

Despite the request by the Ceylon Petroleum Private Tanker Owners’ Association (CPPTOA) from Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana D. Wickramaratne to provide security to themselves and their bowsers transporting fuel, the Police said that such security could only be provided when necessary, as separate Police officers could not be deployed for the safety of private tankers and bowsers.

Speaking to The Morning yesterday (23), Police Media Spokesman Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Attorney-at-Law Nihal Thalduwa said: “The CPPTOA has made a request to IGP Wickramaratne. However, separate Police officers cannot be deployed for the safety of private tankers and bowsers. Therefore, Police will take action to provide them with security whenever there is a need for such.”

Taking into account the ongoing demonstrations islandwide in protest over the prevailing shortage of fuel in the country, the Police recently urged the protesting public to refrain from blocking or damaging bowsers transporting fuel.

The CPPTOA had written a letter to IGP Wickramaratne, requesting for proper security for fuel tankers, given the unrest in the country.

They had pointed out to the IGP that it would be difficult for tanker owners and operators to report for duty if they did not receive proper protection within the next two days. The letter also urged the IGP to take an immediate decision on the matter as the fuel tankers were in an unsafe condition at present.

Late last month, an SSP had been appointed to co-ordinate with the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation regarding the provision of security to bowsers transporting fuel, as another step in providing Police protection for fuel transport.

Speaking to the media at that time, Thalduwa stated that it was not practical to deploy the Police for the security of every bowser carrying fuel. He said that police officers would instead be deployed for the security of bowsers transporting fuel by the respective police stations, in particular at places where there were large gatherings such as protests.