Fire reignites on board New Diamond VLCC off Sri Lanka

A fire has reignited on board MT New Diamond, the Sri Lanka Navy said just a day after reporting that it has managed to douse the fire completely on Monday, September 7.

As informed, the fire seems to have resulted from adverse weather, however, navy ships, emergency tugs and aircraft dispatched to the location are continuing with their efforts and have reduced the flames to a certain extent.

The reoccurrence of the fire was expected due to the high temperature inside the ship and environmental influences.

The very large crude carrier is located about 30 nautical miles off Sangamankanda Point.

New Diamond was transporting 270,000 metric tonnes of crude oil from the Port of Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait to the Port of Paradip in India when the fire broke out aboard the ship on September 3.

The tanker caught fire after an explosion of a boiler in the ship’s main engine room.

The navy said that 9 ships, 5 tugs and navy aircraft together with 2 ships of the Sri Lanka Coast Guard were making their ‘all-out contribution’ in this disaster management operation.

Meanwhile, another Dornier aircraft of the Indian Coast Guard is expected to arrive in China Bay, Trincomalee from Chennai today with a consignment of dry chemical powder.

Salvage operation experts and disaster management professionals hired by the ship’s operator have also returned to the location to contain the blaze that developed again.

“There is no risk of the fire spreading to the oil storage or leaking oil from the ship into the sea as of now,” the navy pointed out.

A research team from the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA), Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA), and the University of Ruhuna is scheduled to visit the site today to inspect water samples and determine if there is any damage to the marine environment from the incident.

The fire needs to be completely extinguished before the VLCC can be boarded by salvage experts to assess the damage caused to the ship, and decide on the next steps regarding the potential towing of the vessel.

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