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The fire on an oil tanker in the Indian Ocean has been brought under control

2020-09-04T19:07:17.650Z

Sri Lankan military vessels and the Indian Coast Guard finally succeeded in bringing the fire of a Panamanian-flagged tanker off Sri Lanka off the coast of Sri Lanka on Friday, which raised fears of a large-scale oil spill in the Indian Ocean after that of Mauritius at the end of August. Read also: Fears of a new oil spill in the Indian Ocean with a fire on an oil tanker After two days of "massi



Sri Lankan military vessels and the Indian Coast Guard finally succeeded in bringing the fire of a Panamanian-flagged tanker off Sri Lanka off the coast of Sri Lanka on Friday, which raised fears of a large-scale oil spill in the Indian Ocean after that of Mauritius at the end of August.

Read also: Fears of a new oil spill in the Indian Ocean with a fire on an oil tanker

After two days of

"massive efforts to fight the fire"

, the flames are now

"under control"

aboard the New Diamond but the ship, 330 meters long, still emits thick smoke, said the Indian Coast Guard. Friday night.

Its crew evacuated, the tanker had drifted 25 km on Friday towards the coast of Sri Lanka and three tugs - two Indians and one chartered by its owner - were activated to try to push it back to the high seas. The ship, filled with 270,000 tons of crude and 1,700 tons of diesel, had issued a distress call Thursday after an explosion in its engine room that killed one of the 23 crew members, a Filipino sailor.

The others were evacuated.

"It will take another four to five days to completely overcome the fire,"

Sri Lankan Vice-Admiral YN Jayaratne, who is coordinating relief, previously said.

"Then we should be able to tow it offshore and let the owners decide what they want to do

.

"

The vice-admiral had ruled out any imminent danger of the ship breaking up, although the Indian Coast Guard reported a two-meter crack in the New Diamond's hull ten meters above the waterline.

Concern in the Maldives

The metal gave way, he said, due to the intense heat emanating from the ship's diesel tanks when the fire spread from the engine room but did not spread to the oil cargo.

The Maldives, located a thousand kilometers southwest of Sri Lanka, worried about a possible oil spill from the New Diamond, fearing serious consequences for their environment.

This archipelago of 1,192 coral islands makes a living from fishing and tourism.

Ahmed Naseem, cabinet minister to the president of Maldives, called for precautionary measures for his country, tweeting that an oil spill

"could be a major disaster"

.

The Sri Lankan Disaster Management Center, however, ruled out any immediate danger.

"It's not as bad as it

sounds," the head of the Center, Sudantha Ranasinghe, told AFP.

“The fire did not spread to the cargo.

Once the flames are extinguished, the vessel will be towed further into deeper water ”

.

The authorities are considering a transshipment of the cargo, he said.

"If the worst happens and the ship breaks, we would face the most serious oil spill"

in the region, however feared Dharshani Lahandapura, director of the Sri Lankan agency for the protection of the marine environment.

Sri Lanka does not have the means to curb it, she said, and legal action is being considered against the ship's owner, Porto Emporios Shipping Inc. which is headquartered in Liberia.

A sailor killed in the explosion

The Sri Lankan Navy confirmed on Friday the death of a Filipino sailor the day before in the explosion.

The other 22 crew members, including five Greeks and 17 Filipinos, were hoisted by helicopter.

Severely burned, the third officer of the tanker, also Filipino, was hospitalized in Kalmunai, 360 kilometers east of Colombo and is in stable condition.

Departing from Kuwait for the Indian port of Paradip with a cargo destined for the Indian Oil Corp. company, the New Diamond is about thirty meters longer than the Japanese bulk carrier MV Wakashio which ran aground at the end of July on a reef in the South- East of Mauritius.

Three weeks later, the wreckage of the MV Wakashio shattered in two, after a race against time to pump the fuel it contained.

In the meantime, it had let out at least 1,000 tons of fuel oil which soiled the coast - especially protected areas home to mangrove forests and endangered species - and the crystal clear waters popular with tourists.

Source: lefigaro

All business articles on 2020-09-04

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