Oil tanker fire : 22 crew members rescued

Chennai: As the joint fire fighting efforts by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) ships and Sri Lankan Navy to douse the fire in an oil tanker off Sri Lanka coast continued for the second day, 22 of the 23 crew members of the oil vessel were safely rescued on Friday.

In a series of tweets, the Indian Coast Guard said concerted joint SAR and firefighting efforts by ICG ships, Sri Lankan Navy and tugs resulted in rescue of 22 out of 23 crew safely.

The searches were in progress to trace one missing crew, who is a Filipino. According to media reports in Colombo, the missing person is feared dead.

The ICG ships also successfully doused the fire in the accomodation area and ICG Shaurya was continuously fighting fire with three tugs engaged in boundary cooling.

It also said a two metre crack was observed neart Port act porition 10 metres above the waterline.

There was no oil spill reported in the area and the Indian government was deploying two emergency towing vessels for the ‘MT New Diamond’, which was chartered by the Indian Oil Corporation and heading towards it refinery at Paradip port in Odisha from Kuwait.

The firefighting efforts are continuing and India on Friday deployed two additional ships–ICG ship Ameya and Abheek– and two Dornier aircraft to enhance efforts to douse the fire on a fully loaded oil tanker off Sri Lanka’s East Coast.

The ICG said ”#FireFighting in progress in consultation with Master of #MTNewDiamond onboard #ICG ship Shaurya along with Tug APL Winger.Additional #ICG ship Ameya & Abheek being deployed #today in PR configuration to augment efforts. 02 CG Dornier aircraft also being
deployed for air efforts”.

Stating that firefighting ICG ships successfully doused fire in accommodation area, it said ICG ship Shaurya is continuously fighting fire with three tugs engaged in boundary cooling.

“FireFighting #ICG ship Shaurya and 03 tugs viz Ravana, Winger and Visabha fighting fire with continous spray of water and foam. INS Sahyadri and two Sri Lankan Naval ships also in area”, the ICG said.

Earlier, as part of SAR operations, ICG ship Shaurya had reached the scene of incident and commenced firefighting operations in ‘MTNewDiamond’ off Srilanka coast.

“Continuous spraying of water and foam using external fire fighting system for extinguishing fire and boundary cooling in progress. A CG dornier aircraft also deployed in area for assessment”, the ICG tweet said.

Thursday evening, soon after Sri Lankan sought the ICG’s assistance, the ICG in a swift Sea and Air Coordinated (SAR) operation immediately diverted ICG Ships Shaurya, Sarang, Samudra Paheredar and Dornier Aircraft for fire fighting on Oil Tanker MTNewDiamond about 37 nautical miles East of Sri Lanka.

On Thursday, the IOC-chartered oil tanker, carrying about 2,70,000 metric tonnes of crude oil, caught fire after an explosion on board.