COLOMBO: A stricken oiler off Sri Lanka that has been ablaze since last week has left a kilometre-long slick across the Indian Ocean , the country’s navy said on Wednesday (Sep 9), sparking fears of an environmental disaster.
The blaze was finally brought in check on Wednesday but a trail of diesel has been spilled across the ocean .
A fire first erupted on board last Thursday and was thought to possess been completely doused on Saturday, but reignited each day later.
Sri Lanka’s navy said there have been no flames or smoke on Wednesday from the New Diamond vessel, which is carrying 270,000 tonnes of petroleum and 1,700 tonnes of diesel.
The fresh fire was triggered on Sunday by strong winds that pushed the crippled tanker about 20km closer to Sri Lanka’s eastern shores.
A powerful tug boat was wont to bring the drifting ship back to a location 68km from land, the navy said.
The Indian Coast Guard said it had deployed aircraft to spray chemical dispersants on the slick and mitigate the environmental impact.
The coast guard also said it provided 2,200kg of dry chemical powder to the Sri Lankan air force to drop on the burning tanker on Tuesday as a fireplace retardant.
The blaze had weakened the structure of the Panamanian-registered 330m tanker and therefore the vessel was slightly leaning to the left, the ICG said.
Rescuers said the blaze had not reached the petroleum cargo. The diesel is assumed to possess leaked when the ship’s fuel storage tanks ruptured and mixed with sea water that was pumped to douse the flames.
Sri Lanka’s chief prosecutor, Dappula de Livera, told local marine authorities to pursue a claim for damages and order the owners to tow the tanker faraway from Sri Lankan waters.
The vessel first reported a fireplace while passing the country’s East Coast on Thursday after a boiler room explosion killed a Filipino crewman .
In July, Japanese bulk carrier MV Wakashio crashed into a reef in Mauritius, leaking quite 1,000 tonnes of oil into the island nation’s pristine waters.
It is reported that the fire that broke out in an oil tanker in eastern Sri Lanka one day after the fire that broke out on September 3, was taken under control. He said that the fire that broke out the previous day on the ship named “MT New Diamond” carrying oil to Turkey was extinguished with two days of work.
Noting that there is no flame or smoke on the ship anymore, Silva said that the ship, located 55 kilometers off the coast, was pulled off the sea by a sea tug for about 70 kilometers. A fire broke out with the explosion of the boiler in the engine room of the ship “MT New Diamond”, which carried about 2 million barrels of crude oil from Ahmadi Port to Paradip Port of India, where the state-owned Indian Oil Corporation’s refinery is located.
In the explosion, one Filipino crew died, one was injured. 21 of the 23 crew members, 18 Filipino and 5 Greek, were rescued in the tanker. It was driven 20 nautical miles (37 kilometers) towards the shore, but was later pulled off by a sea trailer.
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