As first responders, the Indian Navy has extended help to the Sri Lankan Navy to fight a major fire raging on an oil tanker. This tanker was carrying crude from Kuwait to India and the fire has left one of the 23 crew members dead. The rest of the crew has been rescued safely.
Reports from Sri Lankan Navy have confirmed the death of one Filipino sailor who died in the boiler explosion. The tanker is Panama registered MT New Diamond which had caught fire on Thursday.
What was on board the tanker?
The tanker was carrying 270,000 metric tonnes of crude oil. It was coming from Kuwait to India, when the fire broke out in the engine room off the coast of Sangamankanda, which is in the eastern district of Ampara.
The 270,000 metric tonnes of crude oil has not been affected by the fire. However, efforts have been on to ensure that the fire does not spread to the cargo.
Also, the focus is on to ensure that there is no seepage of oil in the sea from the tanker.
The operation to put off the fire was resumed on Friday morning under the supervision of the Greek captain of the tanker.
On the night of Thursday, MV Helen, a vessel sailing in the area managed to rescue 3 Greeks and 16 Filipino crew members who belonged to the distressed vessel.
The vessel is in the waters around 23 nautical miles off the eastern coast. The depth there is 3100 metres.
On Friday, INS Sahyadri joined the operations.
What assistance is India providing?
Indian Coast Guard Ship ICGS Shaurya (Water Gun Capable ship) has been diverted for spraying water.
An ICG Pollution Control Vessel (PCV), Samudra Pahredar, has also been deployed from Vizag.
ICG Ship Sujay deployed from Chennai is on the site.
ICG Dornier aircraft has been deployed from Madurai for Aerial Recce.
Indian Navy has diverted three ships Shakti, Sahyadri and Ranvijay.
Besides the Indian Navy, three vessels from the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) are involved in the rescue mission and in providing assistance.
On Thursday, the ICG had swiftly diverted its ships Shaurya, Sarang and Samudra Paheredar and a Dornier aircraft for helping the crew onboard the tanker.
According to the Sri Lankan Navy, two Russian ships which were docked at the Hambantota port since August 31, also joined in the rescue mission.
Fire Onboard Oil Tanker near SL
Ship: MV NEW DIAMOND, Panama Flag. On passage from Kuwait to Paradip.
Cargo: Carrying ~300,000 tons of oil for IOC.
Crew strength 23 members. 5 Hellenic, 18 Filipino. There was no Indian crew.
Location of the incident- off the South East coast of Sri Lanka.
According to the Indian Navy, “Joint Indian Navy & ICG team including Master embarked onboard MT New Diamond for assessment. No flames visible, however heavy smoke persists.”
No oil slick detected.
The onboard team assisting in connecting up a tow with Tug Alp Winger.