A missing crew member on a ship which caught fire near Sri Lanka, has been reported dead.
The Navy said the Philippine crew member has reportedly died in an explosion on the ship.
The Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air Force, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard are currently 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).
Accordingly, an MI17 helicopter of Sri Lanka Air Force carried out several aerial operations dropping water on the ship which caught fire. Meanwhile, a beach craft is conducting periodic air surveillance and a Dornier aircraft of the Indian Coast Guard also monitored the disaster situation from the air.
Further, Sri Lanka Navy Ships Sayura, Sindurala and Ranarisi with two Fast Attack Craft have been deployed in this disaster management operation. The Indian Coast Guard Ship “Shaurya” which arrived at the location of the distressed oil tanker in the evening hours of Thursday, joined hands with the Sri Lanka Navy Ship ‘Sindurala’ in carrying out the cooling effect from both sides of the ship in distress.
The mission was also augmented by two tugs ‘Rawana’ and ‘Wasamba’ at 1.00 a.m and 3.00 a.m. today respectively after leaving the Hambantota port this morning (04th September).
The mission was also joined by the ALP ‘Winger’ another tug made ready by the foreign company that owns the ship in distress.
Apart from that, the Indian Navy Ship (INS) ‘Sahyadri’ joined the disaster management operation this morning around 2.00 a.m. and two (02) other Indian Coast Guard ships are scheduled to join the operation by today. Two Russian ships that took part in the disaster relief operation left the scene last evening.
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.
Furthermore, the fire on the ship has so far had no effect on the 270,000 metric tons of crude oil stored on the vessel and necessary steps are being taken to prevent the fire from spreading to the crude oil storage facilities.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Navy said that there is still no risk of the ship leaking oil into the ocean. (Colombo Gazette)