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Firefighting crews from Sri Lanka and India are working to put out a large blaze aboard an oil tanker that has been burning since Thursday, off the coast of the south Asian island nation.

One Filipino crew member died after a boiler in the main engine room exploded, causing the fire, the Sri Lankan Navy said. All other persons on board, 22 in all, were rescued from the ship, which is carrying 270,000 metric tons of crude oil.
Photos and video showed thick black smoke pouring from one end of the Panamanian-flagged tanker, MT New Diamond, 38 nautical miles (70 kilometers) off Sangamankanda Point in southern Sri Lanka.
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Yet another tragedy.

She is doomed - I sincerely hope there is no huge release of her oil in those beautiful water around SL.

BW

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Good news is that fire in now under control. Very sad that one unfortunate soul was killed in her ER. May his god be with him.
Great effort from Sri Lankan and Indian responders.
BW
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It's not over yet? They may have got the fire out on MT New Diamond and be towing her further from the coast, but she has a 270000 tonne cargo of crude onboard which needs to be salvaged. These hope they succeed. A pollution of this magnitude in this area is unthinkable?
 

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COLOMBO (Reuters)

There is no real risk of a spill from a fully loaded supertanker that caught fire off the east coast of Sri Lanka, a senior official in the Indian Ocean nation's navy said on Friday.
The fire that broke out in the engine room of the New Diamond on Thursday morning had spread to the bridge of the ship, carrying about 2 million barrels of oil, though it has not reached the cargo area, the Sri Lankan navy said.
Director-General of Operations Rear-Admiral Y N Jayarathna told reporters it was the navy’s view that there was no real danger of a spill, because the fire on the ship has been contained in the rear section of the vessel.
"The live flames have now died down and there is only white smoke emanating from the vessel," he told a televised press conference.
A navy spokesman, Captain Indika de Silva, said there were 23 crew on board, one of whom is presumed dead. The rest have been taken off the ship by the Sri Lankan navy, with one injured crew member flown to the capital Colombo for treatment.
Three tug boats, five Sri Lankan navy ships as well as two craft from the Russian navy and three from the Indian navy have been assisting in an operation to fight the fire and tow the ship away from the coast, after it began drifting towards land.
At present the vessel is being held by the salvage team in deep sea 35 kms (21.7 miles) east of the Sri Lankan town of Pottuvil, de Silva said.
Initially, the ship was stranded 38 kms (24 miles) east of the town of Thirukovil, but drifted within 25 kms of the coast after being abandoned. Authorities were now towing it eastward, away from the coast, de Silva said.
Thirukovil is a town in Sri Lanka's Ampara district that was badly battered by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Arugam Bay, a world-renowned surfing spot, is nearby.
"The missing Filipino sailor is presumed dead. He was badly injured when a boiler exploded," de Silva told Reuters, citing crew who were rescued.
"There were five Greek and 18 Philippine nationals among the crew. One of them was injured and he was airlifted out of the ship and the rest were accounted for."
Sri Lanka's meteorology department had already modelled the impact of 70,000 tonnes of crude oil - a quarter of the ship's cargo - spilling into the ocean.
The simulation, a worst case scenario according to authorities, found that such a spill would not immediately threaten the country's east coast.
But Dharshani Lahandapura, chair of Sri Lanka's federal Marine Environment Protection Authority, told Reuters that any spill from the ship would be catastrophic for marine life.
"It will be a huge environmental and economic disaster if this happens," she said.
The 20-year old New Diamond, chartered by Indian Oil Corp (IOC), had sailed from the port of Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait, loaded with Kuwait Export Crude, Refinitiv Eikon tracking data showed. It was heading for the Indian port of Paradip, where state-run IOC has a 300,000 barrel-per-day refinery.

(Reporting by Waruna Karunatilake and Arjuna Ranawana in Colombo; Writing by Sanjeev Miglani and Alasdair Pal; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Raju Gopalakrishnan and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)
 

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Malcolm, Thanks for the latest details, as this now brings us up to date. The salvors should now be able to tow VLCC to safe haven(?) so that cargo can be discharged or transhipped?
Chris
 

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Some good video images of the f/f operations. Very impressive, responsive and successful action by all involved.

Check out all the headlines at bottom of link for the subsequent claims etc.


BW

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It strikes me that if there is now no risk of a spillage this crippled vessel must be the safest tanker in the world!

I also wonder whether the tactic of towing her 'out of the environment', as the comedians had it, is the best way of salving her or whether they simply want to ensure there is a less visible damage rather than less damage..
 

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It strikes me that if there is now no risk of a spillage this crippled vessel must be the safest tanker in the world!

I also wonder whether the tactic of towing her 'out of the environment', as the comedians had it, is the best way of salving her or whether they simply want to ensure there is a less visible damage rather than less damage..
Fortunately the fire is doused... completely.
 

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Fire reignites aboard the MT New Diamond; collaborative efforts made to contain the fire.
Colombo (News 1st); Sri Lanka Navy said on Monday (07) evening, the fire aboard the MT New Diamond Crude Oil Tanker which was already doused has reignited from the effects of extreme temperature and sparks on board.
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It's not over yet? They may have got the fire out on MT New Diamond and be towing her further from the coast, but she has a 270000 tonne cargo of crude onboard which needs to be salvaged. These hope they succeed. A pollution of this magnitude in this area is unthinkable?
You would need more than a buckets to shift that cargo. Assuming that the Pump Room is un damaged I suppose that the big problem would be lack of steam to power them. Donkey boiler? What does one do in such a situation?
 
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