Sri Lankan Navy on Friday said that divers have plugged the fuel leak on MT New Diamond, the oil tanker that was on fire for almost a week. A few days ago, an oil slick was spotted a kilometre away from a loaded supertanker off the country’s east coast. The blaze was doused on Wednesday by Indian Navy and Sri Lankan Navy. According to a statement by the Navy, the fuel of the ship was leaking from a fuel tank and created a two-kilometre long trail in the Indian Ocean via the pipes that had been damaged due to the week-long blaze.
The fire onboard oil tanker MT New Diamond was doused on September 6 before it reignited on September 7 due to prevailing intense heat onboard. Sri Lankan officials are currently working to assess any damage to the environment and marine life from the incident. Sri Lankan Navy spokesman Indika de Silva reportedly said that the ship had tilted slightly towards where the fire broke out due to a large amount of water sprayed to douse the fire. He further added that the oil in the engine room also appears to have leaked out to the sea.
One Filipino crew member has died after the boiler in the main engine room burst into flames causing the fire. The 22 people who were on board were successfully rescued from the vessel that is reported to be loaded with 270,000 metric tons of crude oil. Jagath Gunesekara, Deputy General Manager of Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA), said that the Sri Lankan government has deployed scientists and researchers from MEPA tasked with examining the area around the ship and nearby coastal areas for the sign of pollution. The large 333-metre long crude carrier is carrying over three lakh metric tons of crude oil for the Indian Oil Corporation from Kuwait to Paradip. ICG ships Sujay, Shaurya, Sarang and pollution response vessel Samudra Paheredar are continuously engaged in the firefighting operation on rotation, using a specialised external firefighting system, a statement from ICG said.