An explosion of a boiler followed by fire erupted in the main engine room of MT New Diamond, a tanker sailing 38 nautical miles off Sangamankanda Point east of Sri Lanka on 3rd September
According to the distress signal received by the Maritime Rescue Coordinating Center in Colombo, the distressed oil tanker in eastern seas was manned by 23 crew members including 05 Greek and 18 Philippine nationals and is registered under the Panamanian Flag (IMO-9191424).
20 year old tanker was transporting 270,000 metric tons of crude oil from the port of Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait to the Indian port of Paradip, when it faced with this unfortunate turn of events.
The distressed vessel drifted about 20 nautical miles shorewards on September 4, 2020 at 1800 hrs, which was towed away with the help of ALP Winger tug to about 40 nautical miles (about 74 km) away from the shore.
The disaster management teams, which includes the Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air Force, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard were able to douse the fire onboard MT New Diamond.
Furthermore, the team have been working in full swing to continue disaster management operations to prevent a recurrence of fire, using fire smothering agents like water and chemicals.
Meanwhile, ships, aircraft, and tugs belongs Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air Force, Indian Navy and Coast Guard other stakeholders are working in collaboration to contain the flames.
In a recent development, a narrow diesel oil patch extending to one kilometre away from the ship has been observed.
Over the past few days, the firefighting teams continued to surge sheer volume of sea water to extinguish fire onboard. As a result the engine room of the ship was flooded with sea water, making it lying in a position called ‘trim by aft’.
In this backdrop, it is believed that the diesel that had been stored in ruptured tanks close to the engine room had been mixed with flooded water and oozed out due to the ship’s changing position. However, the crude oil storage of the distressed ship is still safe from the fire and there is no danger of the ship leaking oil into the sea at the moment, said Sri Lankan Navy.