Oil tanker on fire off Sri Lanka coast towed to safety

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An India bound vessel from Kuwait with a crude shipment that caught fire off the Sri Lankan coast has been towed to safe waters while fire fighting continues and there has been no oil slick, defence authorities said here on Saturday.

The blaze in the oil tanker, which also bore the brunt of two explosions and a two-metre crack, has now subsided, they said.

“Indian Coast Guard and Sri Lankan ships and aircraft along with tug ALP Winger successfully towed MT New Diamond more than 35 NM (Nautical Mile) away from SriLanka coast to safe waters.

Fire Fighting continues and fire now reduced. No oil slick reported,” a defence release said.

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An oil tanker carrying crude from Kuwait to India burst into flames off the eastern coast of Sri Lanka on Thursday, leaving one of its 24 crew members missing and another injured while explosions and a crack was noticed on September 4.

The Panama registered tanker New Diamond was carrying 2,70,000 tonnes of crude oil from Kuwait to India when its engine room caught fire off the coast of Sangamankanda in the eastern district of Ampara.

Indian and Sri Lankan authorities are liaisoning continuously to put off the fire expeditiously and they have deployed various assets for the purpose.

An Indian Coast Guard Dornier aircraft (with Oil Spill Dispersants and Pollution Response Spray pods)was sent from here on Friday for aerial assessment and to tackle oil spill if any.

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