April 08, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s navy said it has rescued the crew of a tanker in distress off the east coast and towed the vessel into deep seas to prevent pollution from its cargo of sulphuric acid. MT Granba, flying the flag of Turkey, was abandoned by her crew off the eastern port of Trincomalee after its cargo of sulphuric acid began leaking.
The crew were rescued by navy vessels which went to the scene in response to a distress message from the main Search and Rescue Coordination Centre in Italy indicating MT Granba needed assistance.
The navy said the vessel was overloaded with a cargo of sulphuric acid which was leaking from cargo tanks into her ballast tanks and the ship is in danger.
She had set sail from Tuticorin in India on April 2 bound for Kakinada, another Indian port and was detected by navy radar in Trincomalee when she neared the coast..
The vessel’s crew had been communicating with its agents on repairs to the vessel when the distress call was received, the navy said in a statement.
“Sri Lanka Navy vessels, having verified the legitimacy of the vessel, approached the disabled tanker and provided assistance to steer the vessel away,” it said.