Oil Tanker MT New Diamond towed to safety; fire-fighting still on, no oil slick

Written By: Sidharth MP WION
Chennai, Tamil Nadu Updated: Sep 05, 2020, 07:27 PM(IST)

Oil tanker Photograph:( WION )

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MT New Diamond is reportedly carrying more that 2.7 lakh MT Kuwait export crude oil that was destined for Paradip, Odisha

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) is continuing fire-fighting operation east of Sri Lanka on Motor Tanker New Diamond which is a Greek-owned vessel and under charter by Indian Oil Cooperation.

The vessel has been ablaze since September 03 afternoon, following a major explosion in the engine room, while transiting Sri Lanka’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The first information about the vessel being on fire was received at Indian Coast Guard Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) Mumbai.

Also read| Sri Lanka oil tanker fire: Firefighting continues, tweets Indian Coast Guard

MT New Diamond is reportedly carrying more that 2.7 lakh MT Kuwait export crude oil that was destined for Paradip, Odisha. According to Marinetraffic.com, MT New Diamond is a 20-year old crude oil tanker that is 333 meters long and 60 meters wide. 

ICG Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV) Ameya with 1,000 liters oil spill dispersant, arrived at the area, on Saturday evening to augment pollution response efforts. Another FPV Abheek with 40 drums (200 kg each) aqueous film forming foam concentrate (AFFF), 10 units of DCP (50 Kg each) and 20 barrels (50 kg each) of dry chemical powder (DCP) had also joined in. Owing to intense and continuous fire-fighting, the fire has been localised at Port Bridge Deck and Aft Ready Use tank area.

Indian Coast Guard has deployed six vessels and two aircraft for fire fighting and to handle pollution response in event of an oil slick. ICG Ships Sujay, Shaurya and Sarang are on scene since Thursday and are continuously engaged in fire fighting operation using specialized external fire fighting system along with Sri Lankan ships/tugs. The operations are being carried out with the advice of Master of the MT New Diamond.

Also read: Indian Coast Guard rescues captain, crew member from burning oil tanker off SL Coast

On Friday, a team comprising ICG personnel and Master embarked MT New Diamond and connected tow with tug APL Winger. After consolidated efforts, ICG and Srilankan ships alongwith Tug APL Winger have towed MT New Diamond 35 nautical miles away from nearest shore of the island nations east coast. Another Tug TTK-1 arranged by salvors joined along with ICG ships, Tug Ravana & Tug Vasabha for continuing the fire-fighting operations.

Two CG Dornier aircraft with Oil Spill Dispersants (OSD) and Pollution Response Spray pods arrived at Hambantota on late Friday evening. Coast guard helicopters, embarked on ships are also being launched regularly for aerial assessment. Aerial recce by Srilankan Airforce Beachcraft and spraying of water through Bambi Bucket by Srilankan Airforce MI-17 is in progress.

Emergency Towing Vessels from Mumbai and Chennai have been sailed for augmenting Salvage and Fire Fighting efforts. No oil spill has been so far reported.Continuous liaison and co-ordination is being maintained with Sri Lankan Navy/Coast Guard and other authorities for augmentation and effective response.

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