The New Diamond, a very large crude carrier (VLCC) chartered by Indian Oil Corp (IOC), carrying the equivalent of about 2 million barrels of oil caught fire last Wednesday. The fire broke out on the fully loaded supertanker off the east coast of Sri Lanka and has been brought under control, spokesmen for the navy said on Thursday (Sep 3), adding that one of its 23 crew was missing and another injured.
“There is no damage to the crude oil cargo area, only the engine room and some areas around it.
There were 23 crew on board. We are bringing one injured crew member to Sri Lanka on board one of our vessels.” A navy spokesmen said.
Spokesman, Commander Ranjith Rajapaksa, said the VLCC was ablaze about 20 nautical miles off the east coast of Sri Lanka and its military had sent an aircraft and two ships to assist.
The ship sailed from the port of Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait, loaded with Kuwait Export Crude, Refinitiv Eikon tracking data showed. It was headed for the Indian port of Paradip, where state-run IOC has a 300,000 barrel-per-day refinery.
Sri Lanka’s Marine Protection Authority said it would take measures to prevent any possible oil leak from the tanker. Such a spill could cause an “environmental disaster”, warned Ashok Sharma, managing director of shipbroker BRS Baxi in Singapore.