Fire on MT New Diamond brought under control

The massive fire on the ship, MT New Diamond, has been brought under control.

The ship is now being towed away to the deep sea, the Sri Lanka Navy said.

The Indian Coast Guard, which was assisting in the operations to contain the fire fire said the fire was brought under control following a massive fire fighting effort by the Indian Coast Guard, the Sri Lanka Navy and ships and aircraft.

An Indian Coast Guard specialist team and tug ALP Winger connected to tow the vessel to the deep sea.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa today instructed the authorities to take measures to prevent an oil spill and damage to the environment following the disaster.

Residents in Ampara were also told to exercise caution as there were fears of an oil spill.

The Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air Force, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard had been working together to control the fire that erupted after an explosion of a boiler in the main engine room of MT New Diamond, an oil tanker sailing 38 nautical miles off Sangamankanda Point east of Sri Lankan seas, yesterday (Thursday).

A missing crew member on the ship had been reported dead. The Navy said the Philippine crew member had reportedly died in the explosion on the ship.

Meanwhile, 21 crew members of the distressed oil tanker including the 19 persons, who were initially retrieved by MV Helen were taken aboard Sri Lanka Navy ships and have been safely isolated adhering to health guidelines.

The third engineering officer of the ship who sustained injuries, is in stable condition at the Kalmunai Hospital. (Colombo Gazette)