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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Fire on tanker off Sri Lanka under control, ship towed away

The tanker, carrying nearly 2 million barrels of crude oil, was drifting about 20 nautical miles (37 kilometers) from Sri Lanka's eastern coast and on Friday evening a tug boat towed it to the deep sea away from land, said navy spokesman Capt. Indika de Silva.

By: AP | Colombo | Updated: September 5, 2020 11:38:33 am
Fire on tanker off Sri Lanka under control, ship towed awayThis photo released by Sri Lankan Air Force shows smoke rising after a fire broke out on a Panama-registered oil tanker about 38 nautical miles (70 kilometers) east of Sri Lanka, Thursday, Sept.3, 2020. (AP/PTI)

The fire on a large oil tanker off Sri Lanka’s coast has been brought under control but is still not extinguished, the navy said Saturday.

Four tug boats, three Sri Lankan navy ships and four Indian ships have been battling the fire the MT New Diamond since Thursday.

The tanker, carrying nearly 2 million barrels of crude oil, was drifting about 20 nautical miles (37 kilometers) from Sri Lanka’s eastern coast and on Friday evening a tug boat towed it to the deep sea away from land, said navy spokesman Capt. Indika de Silva.

Fire on tanker off Sri Lanka under control, ship towed away Four tug boats, three Sri Lankan navy ships and four Indian ships have been battling the fire the MT New Diamond since Thursday. (ANI)

The fire killed one of the crew and injured another. Both are Filipino.

The injured third engineer has been hospitalized in stable condition.

The fire began in an engine room boiler but had not spread to the tanker’s oil storage area and no leak has been reported, the navy said. Sri Lankan officials have warned of possible massive environmental damage to Sri Lanka’ if the ship leaks or explodes.

Fire on tanker off Sri Lanka under control, ship towed away In this image made from video, an injured crew member of the MT New Diamond, is transferred to a Sri Lanka Navy vessel Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020, off Sangamankanda Point, Sri Lanka. (Sri Lanka Navy via AP)

The head of Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Authority, Darshani Lahandapur, said Sri Lanka does not have the resources or capacity to combat such a massive disaster and had appealed for help from regional countries.

She said her organisation plans to take legal action over the fire.

The tanker had 23 crew members — 18 Filipinos and five Greeks. Twenty-one crew left the tanker uninjured as the fire burned.

The tanker was transporting crude oil from the port of Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait to the Indian port of Paradip, where the state-owned Indian Oil Corp. has a refinery.

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