The MT New Diamond crude oil tanker was transporting 270,000 metric tons of crude oil from the port of Meena Al Ahmadi in Kuwait to the Port of Paradip in India when a fire broke out aboard in the eastern seas of Sri Lanka on 03rd September 2020 at around 0800 hrs. The ship was sailing 38 nautical miles off Sangamankanda Point when it caught fire with an explosion in a boiler in the ship’s main engine room.
Nearly 79 hours after the distress was reported, the Sri Lanka Navy and other stakeholders were able to bring the fire under control at around 3.00 p.m. this evening, as a result of their strenuous firefighting effort.
The successful management of this disaster, which also received special attention worldwide, paved the way to avert a major maritime catastrophe that could have occurred, had not it was mitigated in short period of time. Meanwhile, the Dry Chemical Powder (DCP) sacks tested by the Sri Lanka Air Force delivered successful results to smother the raging flames onboard.
Under these circumstances, the Indian Navy and salvage specialist teams will board the distressed vessel and inspect its interior using high-tech equipment.
Although the fire has now been completely doused, there is a possibility of a recurrence of the fire due to the high temperature inside the ship and environmental influences. Therefore, Sri Lanka Navy is on high alert and is ready for any emergency. Meanwhile, a team of 10 British and Netherlands experts, including salvage operations experts, assessors and a legal adviser arrived in Sri Lanka this morning under the facilitation of the company that works as the commercial and technical operator of MT New Diamond. The team of experts will make an assessment of the damage caused to the ship. Accordingly, the proceedings regarding the ship will be decided on their recommendations.
Further, the Sri Lanka Navy will continue to provide assistance to the distressed ship until it leaves the Sri Lanka’s Maritime Search and Rescue Region.