Colombo: The fire on board an oil tanker off Sri Lanka’s coast has been brought under control with India’s help and it was towed to the deep sea away from land, the Navy said on Saturday.
The ship was carrying 270,000 metric tonnes of crude oil from Kuwait to India. The Sri Lankan Navy on Friday confirmed that a Filipino sailor died in the boiler explosion in the engine room of the Panama registered tanker MT New Diamond that caught fire on Thursday.
Indian ships were supporting the Lankan Navy to douse the flames on the tanker off the coast of Sangamankanda in the eastern district of Ampara.
“The fire on board MT New Diamond has been successfully contained to a greater extent and it lies about 35 nautical miles at 5:30 am. As a result of the combined operation, the ill-fated oil tanker has been secured from all sides.” the Lankan Navy said in a press release.
On Friday evening, a tug boat towed the tanker to the deep sea away from land, it said.
The Navy said they were assisted by the Air Force and the Ports Authority as well as the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard who were working jointly.
The disaster relief operation was joined by Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Sarang, ICGS Sujay, TTT One – a tug equipped with firefighting equipment and professional firefighters, and 02 Dornier aircraft of Indian Coast Guard since previous night, the release stated.
The tanker had 23 crew members – 18 Filipinos and five Greeks. Twenty-two of the 23 member crew had been safely rescued off the tanker.
“The fire has been contained by now and the Dornier aircraft are currently at the Mattala Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport,” the Navy said.
The continuous cooling effect during the disaster relief operation has controlled the fire-spread, it said, adding that there is no risk of an oil spill so far.