Sep 04, 2020 (LBO) – Sri Lanka Navy says that the distressed vessel, MT New Diamond now lies about 22 nautical miles (35 kilometers) off the coast and arrangements have been made to tow it to the deep sea as soon as the fire onboard gets under control.
“When the incident happened the vessel was located 38 nautical miles away from the island,” Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Major General Shavendra Silva said.
“However, the vessel has drifted towards the island due to the wind and engine failure. Now it lies about 22 nautical miles away from the island.”
Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air Force, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, the Indian Navy, and the Indian Coast Guard are currently engaged in a joint effort to control the fire raging in the oil tanker caused by an explosion.
Meanwhile, the Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) ‘Sarang’ has arrived for disaster relief mission, to the sea area where the ill-fated oil tanker is located.
Moreover, a special tug called TTT One which is equipped with dedicated firefighting equipment, professionals and is capable of undertaking firefighting operations at sea is scheduled to reach the scene with another Indian Coast Guard Ship this evening.
Further, considering these turn of events as an urgent matter of national importance, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Hambantota International Port Group, Colombo Dockyard Limited, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and Indian Oil Corporation has provided AFFF fire extinguishing chemicals which are being transferred by Sri Lanka Coast Guard Ship ‘Samudraraksha’, ‘Samaraksha’ and the Sri Lanka Navy Ship ‘Samudura’ from the ports of the Hambantota, Colombo and Trincomalee respectively, to augment the dousing operation.
At present, SLN ships and craft together with the MI 17 helicopter and beach craft of Sri Lanka Air Force, the two tugs ‘Rawana’ and ‘Wasamba’ of Hambantota International Port Group and ALP ‘Winger’ tug made ready by the foreign company that owns the ship in distress are also continuing their firefighting missions to get the tense situation under control.