Fire Out on VLCC Off Sri Lanka

Mike Schuler
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September 6, 2020

A Sri Lankan Navy boat sprays water on the New Diamond, a very large crude carrier (VLCC) chartered by Indian Oil Corp (IOC), that was carrying the equivalent of about 2 million barrels of oil, after a fire broke out off east coast of Sri Lanka September 6, 2020. Sri Lankan Airforce media/Handout via REUTERS

The fire onboard the tanker New Diamond carrying 2 million barrels of oil has been put out, the Sri Lankan Navy has confirmed Saturday.

The Panama-flagged New Diamond sent a distress signal on the morning of September 3 following an explosion and fire in the main engine room as it was underway about 38 nautical miles off the east coast of Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Navy reported.

The vessel is carrying 270,000 metric tons of crude oil from Mina Al Ahmadi, Kuwait to Paradip, India, the Navy reported. There were also 1,700 metric tons of diesel fuel on board.

The Sri Lankan Navy has now confirmed that the fire was brought under control Saturday evening, about 79 hours after it was first reported.

The commercial owner of the New Diamond, New Shipping Limited of Athens, Greece, has appointed SMIT Singapore for the salvage job, the navy said.

One of the New Diamonds 23 crew members is missing and presumed dead.

The New Diamond is chartered by Indian Oil Corp. The vessel was built in 2000 and has a deadweight of 299,986 tonnes.

The Navy has reported no oil has leaked from the ship.

A salvage team is expected to board the ship for an inspection.

The Navy statement added:

“Although the fire has now been completely doused, there is a possibility of a recurrence of the fire due to the high temperature inside the ship and environmental influences. Therefore, Sri Lanka Navy is on high alert and is ready for any emergency. Meanwhile, a team of 10 British and Netherlands experts, including salvage operations experts, assessors and a legal adviser arrived in Sri Lanka this morning under the facilitation of the company that works as the commercial and technical operator of MT New Diamond. The team of experts will make an assessment of the damage caused to the ship. Accordingly, the proceedings regarding the ship will be decided on their recommendations.”

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