Chennai: The fears of an oil spill due to a fire in a crude laden vessel off the Sri Lankan coast appears to have dissipated with the authorities on Sunday saying here that the blaze has almost been doused.
While intense fire-fighting efforts taken up by the Indian Coast Guard and Sri Lankan Air Force and Navy since September 3 had led to localisation of the fire in the ship, a defence release said no oil spill has been reported.
“Fire appears to be doused and no flame and smoke is visible.
Situation is being monitored for further action,” the release said, adding that the inertness of cargo was being maintained.
The ship’s storage area, which has about three lakh tonnes of crude oil, is reported to be safe.
The Panama registered MT (Motor Tanker) New Diamond, a Greek owned vessel and under charter by Indian Oil Corporation was carrying 2,70,000 tonnes of crude oil from Kuwait to India’s Paradip port when its engine room caught fire off Sangamankanda’s coast in Lanka’s eastern district of Ampara.
Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and Sri Lankan ships, fast patrol vessels and tugs have been deployed in the fire fighting exercise.
The oil tanker, which was taken to safe waters, is being held by a tug about 42 miles from the nearest coast for preventing drifting of the ship and to facilitate fire fighting.
The various assets deployed are equipped with fire extinguishers like Dry Chemical Power and Aqueous Film- Forming Foam Concentrates besides Oil Spill Dispersants and oil skimmers to handle the situation in the event of an oil slick.
Specialised ICG pollution Response ship Samudra Paheredar, equipped with ocean boom and oil skimmers reached the oil tanker’s location today.
“Continuous boundary cooling is in progress with use of AFFF and water spraying.
No further increase in the crack or any significant change in trim or list has been observed.”
The ICG launched the operations, being the competent authority under South Asian Co-operative for Environment Protection for responding and coordinating pollution response in the South Region Sea Area.
The tanker had burst into flames, leaving one of its 24 crew members missing and another injured while explosions and a crack was noticed on September 4.