MT New Diamond oil tanker salvage to begin off Sri Lanka
ECONOMYNEXT – Salvage of MT New Diamond, an oil tanker that caught fire off the coast of Sri Lanka is to begin with its Greek owners appointing SMIT International Singapore (Pte) Ltd for the task while a joint effort is carried out to keep down a blaze and cool crude tanks, the island’s Navy said.
A team of 10 British and Dutch experts are due to land in Sri Lanka on Sunday who will be ferried to the tanker by the island’s Navy.
SMIT International Singapore, appointed by New Shipping Limited the owners of vessel is also sending equipment and experts in crude oil disaster management to MT New Diamond to commence the salvage operation, the Sri Lanka Navy said.
TTT One, a fire fighting vessel which has been helping with disaster management already has a team including a salvage chief who can deal with such disasters, the Navy said.
A joint effort involving three Sri Lanka navy capital ships, five Indian Coast Guard Vessels, One Indian Navy vessel, ALP Winger, an anchor handling tug as well as TTT One has been involved in fighting the fire and towing MT New Diamond away from Sri Lanka’s coast to prevent an oil spill.
Two tugs of the Hambantota International Port Group, linked to China’s CM Ports group has also been helping the disaster mitigation effort from early on.
Three Sri Lanka Navy fast attack craft and two ships belonging to two Sri Lanka Coast Guard vessels are operating as supply ships for the operation.
Sri Lanka Air Force has also provided surveillance aircraft and firefighting helicopters.
The Navy said Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Hambantota Port, Indian Oil Corporation, Colombo Dockyard and Ceylon Petroleum Corporation had contributed firefighting foam for the operation on the intervention of Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Authority.
Abandoned ship was towed to a position 70 kilometres away from the coast of Sri Lanka after it began drifting towards the coast of Sri Lanka.
As of Sunday morning there was no oil spill, the Navy said.
The 299,000 dead weight tonne tanker caught fire off the coast of Sri Lanka while transporting crude oil from Kuwait to India.
Twenty crew members are now on board the Sri Lanka Navy ship Sindurala. Arrangements are being made for them to talk to family members, the Navy said.
At least one crew member is presumed dead and one is being treated in hospital. (Colombo/Sept06/2020)