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MV New Diamond fire update
On Thursday 3 September this Panamanian registered vessel caught fire 38 miles off the eastern coast of Sri Lanka. The fire started following an engine room explosion which claimed the life of one crew member and injured others. All crew are now off the vessel.
To date the fire has been contained within the tanker superstructure. Containment has been due to Sri Lankan Navy and Indian Coastguard dousing the flames with water cannon and helicopter drops of sea water onto the fire. However, whilst their efforts have extinguished the blaze leaving only smoke coming out of it, a crack of several metres in length has been identified in the vessel’s hull above the waterline. This causes authorities to question the integrity of the vessel which is carrying 270,000 tonnes of crude oil (2 million barrels).
The vessel is now being towed into deeper water, away from Sri Lanka, and the owners have handed it over to an international salvage company.
However that is not the end of this incident. As the vessel is towed into deeper water there is likely to be more strain on its structure, particularly as the weather deteriorates.
The impact of a significant loss of crude oil in this area would be significant if it were to reach shore.