GALLERY: No oil spill risk from fire-stricken supertanker, Sri Lanka Navy says

New Diamond
Image courtesy: Sri Lanka Navy

Spreading of the deadly fire on board the Panama-flagged oil tanker MT New Diamond, which erupted on September 3, has been controlled, according to the Sri Lanka Navy, posing no risk of oil leakage from the vessel.

Image courtesy: Sri Lanka Navy

The fire broke out after an explosion of a boiler in the main engine room of MT New Diamond, while the vessel was sailing 38 nautical miles off Sangamankanda Point east of Sri Lankan seas.

The navy said that 22 of the 23 crew members aboard the tanker were rescued, while one crew member, a Filipino seaman, has died in the explosion.

The ship is carrying around 270,000 metric tons of crude oil on board. It was underway from Kuwait to India’s Port of Paradip when the blast occurred.

It is also reported that 1,700 metric tons of diesel required for the use of the tanker have been stored onboard.

Images released by the Sri Lanka Navy show black smoke billowing from the vessel, which seems to have sustained considerable damage.

Both the Sri Lanka Navy and the Indian Navy are responding to the incident supported by the Indian Coast Guard, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, and Sri Lanka Airforce.

The airforce has carried out several aerial operations spilling water on the ship to control the flames. A number of emergency response ships have also dispatched to the site to help cool down the stricken tanker. The effort was also joined by two Russian anti-submarine vessels as well.

“Meanwhile, the spread of fire from the superstructure at the rear of the ship towards the crude oil storage facilities has been contained to a greater extent,” the Sri Lanka Navy said in the latest update.

“Since the spread of fire on this ship has been controlled without allowing it to reach the oil storing areas, there is no risk of oil leakage from the vessel to the sea so far.”

Two tugs Rawana and Wasamba of Hambantota International Port Group together with ALP Winger tug employed by the owner of the vessel are making arrangements to tow the ill-fated tanker away from the shore towards deep sea.

The distressed vessel lies about 22 nautical miles (35 kilometers) off the coast as of now.

Efforts aimed at bringing fire extinguishing chemicals needed to quash the blazes remain underway.

The 2000-built very large crude carrier is owned by New Shipping Ltd from Greece, according to the data from VesselsValue.