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, is seen after a fire broke out off east coast of Sri Lanka September 3, 2020. Sri Lankan Airforce media/Handout via REUTERS
A VLCC carrying 2 million barrels of oil has caught fire off the east coast of Sri Lanka with one crew member reported missing.
The Panama-flagged New Diamond sent a distress signal following an explosion and fire in the main engine room as it was underway approximately 38 nautical miles off Sangamankanda Point in eastern Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Navy reported.
Reports say there were 23 crew members on board, comprising 5 Greek nationals and 18 Philippine nationals.
One crew member is currently missing.
The vessel is carrying 270,000 metric tons of crude oil from Mina Al Ahmadi, Kuwait to Paradip, India, the Navy reported. There are also 1,700 metric tons of diesel fuel on board.
Photos show the fire has consumed practically the entire stern and superstructure of the New Diamond.
Sri Lanka Navy Ship (SLNS) Ranarisi has reached the vessel and disembarked an injured crew member, the third engineer. Another 19 crew members have been transferred to the MV Helen M and taken ashore by the Sri Lankan Navy.
The Captain and another crew member stayed on board but have since been transferred to the SLNS Sayura.
The statement from the Sri Lankan Navy added:
“As of now, 03 SLN ships and 01 Fast Attack Craft have been deployed to assist the ship in distress and 02 tug belonging to the Sri Lanka Ports Authority have too left the Hambantota port to assist the ship caught fire. Apart from that, two (02) anti-submarine ships of the Russian Federation which recently arrived at the port of Hambantota for replenishment have already left the port of Hambantota for the relief operation. Meanwhile, The Indian Coast Guard Ship “Shaurya” has reached the location and started extinguishing the fire and to augment the relief providing and disaster mitigation 01 Indian Coast Guard ship and 03 Indian Navy ships are also approaching the scene of the incident.”
The New Diamond is chartered by Indian Oil Corp. The vessel was built in 2000 and has a deadweight of 299,986 tonnes.
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