The Sri Lanka Navy on Wednesday said a fire which had reignited onboard the MT New Diamond oil tanker on Monday has been brought under control and the distressed ship was being towed further away towards safe waters by a tug boat.
The vessel is carrying 270,000 metric tonnes of crude oil and was heading to the Paradip Port in India from Kuwait when a fire broke out in its engine room last Thursday, threatening to cause a massive oil spill in the Indian Ocean, while being in Sri Lanka’s eastern waters.
The navy said the oil tanker is now about 37 nautical miles off the eastern coast and the disaster management operation was continuing at full steam in rough sea conditions and strong winds.
Further, the navy said a narrow diesel oil patch extending to 1 km away from the ship was observed on Tuesday evening.
“In such circumstances, a Dornier aircraft of the Indian Coast Guard was flown to the site to airdrop diesel dispersant to minimize the potential impact on the marine environment. Also, a Marine Research Ship owned by the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) has arrived in the sea area and is conducting further studies regarding the case,” the navy said.
Presently there are no flames or smoke noticed from the oil tanker.
In addition to the ships involved in the fire fighting, another specially trained firefighting and disaster management team from the Sri Lanka Navy is scheduled to set off to the site later Wednesday. Then they would board the ship to review its present standing and gather specifics to decide the future course of action, once the disaster situation on the ship is completely under control.
The Sri Lanka Navy said it will continue to provide assistance to the distressed ship until it leaves Sri Lanka’s Maritime Search and Rescue Region.