The Search & Rescue (SAR) and fire fighting operation towards fire incident onboard MT New Diamond in position 22 NM East South East of Sangama Kanda point, in Sri Lanka, is continuing.
“Fire is presently noticed near Port RU Fuel oil tank area. Concerted joint efforts by ICG ships, Sri Lanka Navy and tugs also resulted in the rescue of 22 out of 23 crew safely. Search is in progress for one missing crew from the Philippines,” said an Indian Coast Guard release.
ICGS Shaurya is coordinating fire fighting and rescue operation with the master of MT New Diamond onboard. Two Sri Lankan tugs Ravana and Vishaba along with ALP Winger (Anchor Handling Vessel), are assisting in fire fighting with a spray of water and foam and undertaking boundary wall cooling around the main crude oil tanks. The three tugs are towing the ship away from the coastline.
Three Sri Lankan Naval Ships (Sayura, Sindurala, and Ranarisi) and INS Sahyadri are also involved in the operation. An Indian Coast Guard Dornier Aircraft and a Sri Lankan Airforce Beachcraft B200 are mounting continuous ariel reconnaissance. A SLAF MI-17 helicopter performed Bambi Bucket operations.
Indian Coast Guard sources have reported two explosions near the seat of fire during wee hours on 04 Sep 20. A 2-meter crack has been observed from weather deck approx 10 meters above the waterline on the port quarter deck.
MT New Diamond’s superstructure at the rear is still on fire and it has not affected the ship’s crude storage area. There has been no crude leak too, as per the Sri Lankan Naval authorities.
Two more Indian coast guard ships ICGS Ameya & ICGS Abheek (Aadesh-class fast patrol vessels) have been pressed into service from Karaikal and Chennai respectively today with 1000 Ltrs Oil Spill Dispersant (OSD), Dry Chemical Powder (DCP) and AFFF liquid to augment pollution response efforts. Also, ICG Pollution Response Ship ICGS Samudra Paheredar is deployed specifically for any oil spill contingency. 02 emergency towing vessels are being deployed by the Government of India for augmenting towing assistance.
“Two Indian Coast Guard Dornier aircraft’s with Oil Spill Dispersants and Pollution Response Spray pods departed from Chennai to Mattila (Hambantota) at 1030 h 04 Sep 20 in pollution response configuration for aerial assessment of the vessel and tackle oil spill, if any,” adds the ICG release.
The unfortunate incident occurred on 3rd September when the crude carrier MT New Diamond was transporting 270,000 metric tons of crude oil from the port of Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait to the Indian port of Paradip. It is also reported that 1700 metric tons of diesel required for the use of the tanker is also stored onboard.