A fire resumed Monday, September 7 aboard the tanker New Diamond off Sri Lanka, after being declared extinguished the day before, the Sri Lankan navy said.
The New Diamond, flying the Panamanian flag and carrying 270,000 tons of crude oil as well as 1,700 tons of diesel, was coming from Kuwait to the Indian port of Paradip when it issued a distress call Thursday after an explosion in its engine room who killed one of the 23 crew members, a Filipino sailor.
Read also: Fears of a new oil spill in the Indian Ocean with a fire on an oil tanker
The others were able to be evacuated while a fire raged on Thursday and Friday, raising fears of an oil spill which particularly worried the Maldives.
This first fire was brought under control then declared Sunday "
" extinguished by the head of the Sri Lankan Navy Nishantha Ulugetenna.
The fire which had already been extinguished has rekindled due to the extreme temperatures on board and sparks,
" according to a statement Monday from the Sri Lankan Navy.
The navy, Indian Coast Guard and private boats are joining forces against the resumption of fire, fueled by strong winds reaching 70 km / h.
A full flotilla sprayed the tanker with water and chemicals to prevent the fire from reaching the cargo of crude oil.
Captain Indika de Silva, spokesperson for the Sri Lankan navy, told AFP that the fire is "
serious but we hope to be able to contain it
The tanker had been towed away about 75 km from the coast of Sri Lanka but the winds brought it some 18 km closer to shore, authorities said.
Powerful tugs surrounded her to keep her from getting any closer.
The Sri Lankan navy assured that the cargo of the tanker had not been affected by the resumption of fire.
The vessel's hull was cracked approximately ten meters above the waterline due to the intense heat from the original fire.
Authorities, however, ruled that there had been no oil spill and that the crack was not considered a catastrophic structural failure.
Sri Lanka's Marine Environmental Protection Agency has pointed out that legal action could be taken against the shipowner, Porto Emporios Shipping, a company registered in Liberia, "
if the worst should happen and the vessel breaks
The tanker is larger than the Japanese bulk carrier MV Wakashio, which ran aground on a reef in Mauritius in July, spilling over 1,000 tonnes of oil in August into the island's pristine waters.