Crippled Supertanker Off Sri Lanka Could ‘Explode Due To Fire’
Fri, 09/04/2020 – 09:05
New Diamond, a very large crude carrier (VLCC) measuring 333 meters, is engulfed in flames about 20 nautical miles off the east coast of Sri Lanka, Refinitiv data showed.
The supertanker is fully loaded with about 2 million barrels of oil.
The Sri Lanka Air Force took pictures and videos showing the extent of the damage.
The Sri Lankan Navy is assisting the crippled supertanker.
Fire spreads to the vessel’s bridge.
Video shows Sri Lanka Air Force dropping water on the fire via a helicopter water bucket.
🔥 Un incendie fait rage depuis hier à bord du pétrolier New Diamond situé au large de la côte sud-est du Sri Lanka après une explosion dans la salle des machines. Un marin philippin est décédé et les 22 autres membres d’équipage ont été secourus pic.twitter.com/NmJY94olja
— Alexandre (@alex_le_bars) September 4, 2020
Reuters quoted Commander Ranjith Rajapaksa, who said the military sent aircraft and several ships to help contain the fire. He said one of the vessel’s crew members perished when an explosion was seen in the engine room.
“The fire is still raging there,” Sri Lankan Navy spokesperson Indika Silva said Friday, adding the fire has yet to spread into the oil storage part of the ship.
The tanker is powerless, drifting off the Sri Lankan coast at a speed of 0.7 nautical miles per hour and could arrive onshore by Sunday, Terney Pradeep, general manager of the Sri Lanka Marine Environment Protection Authority, said on local television.
“If an oil spill happens after it reaches near the coast, there could be massive damage on the beach.
“The damage could rise further if the ship explodes due to the fire. If that happens, there could be huge damage,” Terney warned.
A statement by the vessel’s insurer, West of England, seen by Bloomberg, said: “We can confirm that these two vessels are entered in the West of England. The Club is liaising closely with our members and the relevant authorities, and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
Readers may recall the second vessel referred to is Gulf Livestock 1, a specialized cargo ship measuring 139 meters, currently capsized off the coast of Okinawa, a Japanese island in the East China Sea between Taiwan and Mainland Japan.
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