Tanker carrying 2,00,000 tonne crude to India catches fire off Sri Lanka coast
04 September 2020
Crude oil carrier MT New Diamond carrying 2,00,000 tonnes of crude from Kuwait to Paradip port in India’s east coast caught fire near the Sri Lankan coast raising prospects of an oil spill likely causing massive environmental damage besides loss of precious oil.
Lankan Air Force has dispatched maritime assets to assist disaster relief operations and has sought assistance of Indian Coast Guard in fighting the fire.
According to 'Marine Traffic', the vessel departed from Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait on August 23 and was slated to reach Paradip on 5 September.
Sri Lankan Navy reported the fire and explosion on-board oil tanker 'MT New Diamond' 37 nautical miles east of Sri Lankan coast. Sri Lankan Navy's spokesperson Captain Indika de Silva told local publications that the fire began in the engine room of the vessel and the crew had been making attempts to bring it under control.
The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) said ICG ships and aircraft have been deployed for immediate assistance.
"ICG ships Shaurya, Sarang, Samudra Paheredar and Dornier aircraft have been diverted for fire fighting on oil tanker 'MT New Diamond' 37 nautical miles east of Sri Lanka coast," Coast Guard said in a tweet.
According to the latest update shared by ICG at about 5 pm, ICG ships Shaurya, Sarang, Samudra Paheredar and Dornier aircraft were carrying out the operation.
The crude oil tanker, built 20 years ago, is currently sailing under the flag Panama. The vessel is 333-metre long and 60-metre wide.