Indian Coast Guard vessels battle blaze in oil tanker near Sri Lankan coast

An injured crew member of the MT New Diamond, is transferred on stretcher to an ambulance Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020, in Sangamankanda, Sri Lanka.

An injured crew member of the MT New Diamond, is transferred on stretcher to an ambulance Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020, in Sangamankanda, Sri Lanka.

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Indian Coast Guard ship Shaurya and three tugs — Ravana, Winger and Visabha — are fighting the fire with a continuous spray of water and foam

An injured crew member of the MT New Diamond, is transferred on stretcher to an ambulance Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020, in Sangamankanda, Sri Lanka.
An injured crew member of the MT New Diamond, is transferred on stretcher to an ambulance Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020, in Sangamankanda, Sri Lanka.

CHENNAI: The Indian Coast Guard is trying to thwart a major disaster in the Indian Ocean after a Panamanian flagship oil tanker MT New Diamond carrying three lakh tonnes of crude oil caught fire on Thursday, some 30 nautical miles off Sri Lanka. The vessel had been travelling from Kuwait to India when the explosion occurred and a fire broke out in the engine room.

According to the Indian Coast Guard spokesman, ships and aircraft were immediately sent for a search and rescue and firefighting mission to save the 23 crew on board the tanker, approximately 37 nautical miles east of Tirukkovil (on the south eastern coast of Sri Lanka). It is about 380 nautical miles from Chennai.

Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Sujay with divers on board has also been dispatched from Chennai. Further, ICG Pollution Response Vessel Samudra Paheradar has sailed from Visakhapatnam. A Dornier has been deployed from Chennai for aerial recce.

Meanwhile, Indian Coast Guard formations have been alerted for immediate assistance towards pollution response. The Coast Guard is in constant communication and maintaining coordination with Sri Lankan authorities for the operation.

As per latest reports, 22 crew members, including one injured, have been rescued while one has died. The Coast Guard diverted its ships Shaurya and Sarang on patrol for firefighting and other assistance for the distressed vessel.

Currently, Indian Coast Guard ship Shaurya and three tugs — Ravana, Winger and Visabha — are fighting the fire with a continuous spray of water and foam. As per the latest report, ICGS Shaurya and the tugs have successfully doused the fire in the accommodation area.

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