Missing crew member on ship near Sri Lanka reported dead

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)


  1. The Sri Lankan government (Navy, Air Force and the Ports Authority) have incured a lot of expences and manpower resources to save this great valuable oil tanker and the crude oil in it from a great enviornmental disaster untill now and brought the fire under control as the Sri Lanka Navy has stated. We thank them very much for this great service done to the people of our “Maathruboomiya” and those in distress. Many lives of the seamen (saliors) on board this oil tanker have also been saved with an unfortunate loss of one sailor, a Philipino who was in the boiler room when it brust into flames. According to The law of salvage is a principle of Maritime Law whereby any person who helps recover another person’s ship or cargo in peril at sea is entitled to a reward commensurate with the value of the property salved. Maritime law is inherently international, and although salvage laws vary from one country to another, generally there are established conditions to be met to allow a claim of salvage. The Government of Sri Lanka and or it’s authorities responsible for this should register the “claim of salvage” immediately. The owners of this Oil Tanker handing over this ship to an international Salvage Company may be a “LEGAL MODUS-OPERANDI” to evade making the legitimate dues to the Government of Sri Lanka, The Sri Lankan Navy, Air Force and the Ports Authority for “SALVAGING” this vessel from the begining till now. Over to you Your Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Hon. PM Mahinda Rajapaksa for necessary action please.
    Noor Nizam – Peace and Political Activist, Political Communication Researcher, SLFP/SLPP Stalwart, Convener – “The Muslim Voice”.

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